Deserts Are Important to Conserve

by Chris Anderson on May 23, 2023
Deserts are really important – and they need to be conserved just like other habitats do. On Earth, they make up about 20% of the terrain, and they can be found on every continent.1 They are found 25-35 degrees latitude, parallel to the equator.2
One key characteristic that sets deserts apart from other habitats is the lack of rain. They get under 10” of rain annually.2 
When looking at deserts, four types can be identified:3
  • Coastal
  • Cold
  • Hot and dry
  • Semi-arid 
These will all be slightly different in location and the climate they experience.3
On first thought, it may seem that deserts are too harsh of habitats to be home to very many species, but many species of cacti and cold-blooded animals call deserts home.3 Deserts are so necessary to protect because they provide:1&3
  • Minerals
  • Artifacts – they have the perfect climate to preserve artifacts from the past so we can learn more about history 
  • Medicinal plants 
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Food – like dates and figs
Agricultural practices can encroach on desert regions. This is a problem because deserts tend to only produce enough to keep native plants and animals alive. When other species are introduced to the area, they can take necessary resources away from native wildlife.2
Deserts may have a reputation for being desolate and unimportant, but that’s not true. Every kind of habitat we have on earth has a role to play for the species that live within it.
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