Cover image for Encyclopedia of deserts
Encyclopedia of deserts
Mares, Michael A.
Publication Information:
Norman : University of Oklahoma Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xxxvii, 654 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
General Note:
"Published in collaboration with the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, University of Oklahoma."
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GB611 .E65 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Encyclopedia of Deserts represents a milestone: it is the first comprehensive reference to the first comprehensive reference to deserts and semideserts of the world. Approximately seven hundred entries treat subjects ranging from desert survival to the way deserts are formed. Topics include biology (birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes, invertebrates, plants, bacteria, physiology, evolution), geography, climatology, geology, hydrology, anthropology, and history. The thirty-seven contributors, including volume editor Michael A. Mares, have had extensive careers in deserts research, encompassing all of the world's arid and semiarid regions.

The Encyclopedia opens with a subject list by topic, an organizational guide that helps the reader grasp interrelationships and complexities in desert systems. Each entry concludes with cross-references to other entries in the volume, inviting the reader to embark on a personal expedition into fascinating, previously unknown terrain. In addition a list of important readings facilitates in-depth study of each topic. An exhaustive index permits quick access to places, topics, and taxonomic listings of all plants and animals discussed.

More than one hundred photographs, drawings, and maps enhance our appreciation of the remarkable life, landforms, history, and challenges of the world's arid land.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Since few reference books about deserts are available, this encyclopedia, edited by an authority on mammals of Latin America, is especially welcome. Deserts: The Encroaching Wilderness, ed. by Tony Allan and Andrew Warren (CH, Dec'93), has better maps and photos, but there is little overlap since its atlas format permits only minimal text. Reference Handbook on the Deserts of North America, ed. by George L. Bender (CH, Nov'82), has longer essays and lists of species but does not cover all deserts. Mares has arranged about 700 entries by 37 contributors alphabetically. He includes 122 small black-and-white photos. The entries and bibliographies appear current. "Anza-Borrego Desert" describes the effect of the El Ni~no event of early 1998. Terms likely to be unfamiliar to general readers are defined or explained. Readers will learn that condors, gray gulls, hyenas, jaguars, monkeys, mongoose, parrots, penguins, porcupines, prairie dogs, sea lions, seals, shrews, and zebras have species or populations that are adapted to arid lands; for example, the baboon, a monkey, occurs in desert regions dominated by cliffs. For all university, college, high school, and community libraries. R. Steeb; New Mexico State University