Deserts continue to be one of the most under appreciated ecosystems. While living in the desert I have been fortunate enough to meet and work with other nature enthusiasts who share a love for all things wild, including the desert wilderness. But this community of naturalists is relatively small. The general public can happily spend an entire lifetime not setting foot in a wild desert landscape. Perhaps they perceive the desert as “too hot”; “too dry”; and “barren”; or perhaps the desert is too riddled with snakes, lizards and other “creepy-crawlies”; species which make me jump for joy at the sight of them, since far to many populations have been decimated by human encroachment. The scale of disregard is remarkable as I continue to witness destruction every day.
I spend a great deal of time hiking in the desert mountains and have developed a love for them. My goal in the present is to get people to fall in love with their desert mountains. To witness the charm, delicateness as well as the interconnected nature of a thriving desert ecosystem.
I want the public to know how the yucca plant would not exist without the yucca moth and vice versa. How deceiving plants lie dormant right beneath their feet and how this deceit is their most powerful adaptation for survival. I want people to know how important the desert is for migrating birds during their seasonal journeys.
I even want people to know how complex and how diverse even the sandy soil in the desert is; how it contains many organisms such as bacteria, fungi, algae and lichen creating a mega-biological soil structure and how these microbes help to establish and retain key nutrients while also providing an impressive network structure that resists erosion preventing the soil from blowing completely away by the wind. Which is the reason why I try my best to “rock-hop” my way as I as much as possible when I am wandering the desert.
The desert is a wondrous place and probably the most delicate of all ecosystems.
What wonders of the desert have you encountered? Please share.