The Astonishing, Astounding, Amazing Sonoran Desert


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The "Astonishing Astounding Amazing Sonoran Desert" is an entertaining introduction to the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, designed for visitors who want a quick read to acquaint themselves with the Sonoran Desert and its wildlife. Vibrant full-page color illustrations capture the colors of the desert and the behavior of its wildlife.The introduction describes how the Sonoran Desert differs from other deserts. We explain how having two rainy seasons and more rainfall on average than other deserts have produced a landscape far richer in plant and animal life than is typically found in other deserts. We describe the keystone plant species of the Sonoran Desert-legume trees and columnar cacti-which feed and shelter many of the animal denizens of this ecosystem. Accounts of twenty species that live in or migrate to the Sonoran Desert follow (plants, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and insects). We have chosen to highlight species with fascinating natural histories that readers might not have heard of before. Readers will learn about the grasshopper mouse, which is carnivorous and howls at the night sky; the white-winged dove, which migrates to the Sonoran Desert during the hottest time of year to feast on the flowers and fruit of saguaro cacti; and desert termites, without which the Sonoran Desert would be knee-deep in cow dung. These accounts and others show how native plants and animals have adapted to the high temperatures and scarcity of water characteristic of the Sonoran Desert.The book concludes with a description of the threats to the Sonoran Desert and what citizens can do about them. We describe the negative impact of invasive species like sunfish and buffelgrass on native species. Open-pit mines and border barriers are some examples of human disturbance that adversely affect plants, animals, and fragile desert soils. Finally, we discuss how climate change, if not addressed, could eventually convert the desert into a wasteland. Acknowledging climate change and actively conserving the desert now is our best hope for protecting this astonishing, astounding, and amazing ecosystem for the future.
AuthorAndrew T. Smith, Harriet Smith
IllustratorRoni Alexander
PublisherDockside Sailing Press
Publication Date7/12/2019
Dockside Sailing Press