This review was written and published to address Deserts and Wetlands, two comprehensive references in the Ecosystem series. These are welcome additions to interdisciplinary resources, particularly for teachers. Global maps, charts, and other illustrations truly are superb. Deserts is the more readable of the two and will attract a wider audience than Wetlands. It is particularly strong relating the historical significance of the desert in migration and trade routes as well as describing modern desert peoples. Graphics and text explain ocean currents, circulation of the atmosphere, plate tectonics, and Milankovich cycles as part of the desert phenomenon. Global warming is presented in an objective and low-key manner. The strength of Wetlands is in describing food webs and biological diversity in a variety of wetland communities. There is considerable explanation of mires and bogs with an including concern over peat depletion caused by horticultural use in the United States and Europe. Both volumes incorporate geology, chemistry, biology, and geography in different chapters to explain how deserts or wetlands have developed, dynamic processes in current deserts or wetlands, their significance in history and economics, and current management of wetlands or deserts. All teachers in natural sciences or geography certainly should have access to these very important volumes. Older students might find these resources preferable to encyclopedias for research. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Charts. Further Reading. Appendix. 2001, Facts on File, 214p. PLB Ages 15 to Adult. Reviewer: Marilyn Brien SOURCE: VOYA, June 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 2)
- Greg M. Romaneck
If you conjure up a mental image of a desert, you probably will incorporate visual pictures of burning sands, rippling dunes, ceaseless sun, and an unending thirst. While all of these factors are facets of desert biomes they leave out the bio-diversity that exists in these parched places. In this title author Michael Allaby provides a broad based look at the nature of these feverish ecosystems. Deserts represent one of the least fertile regions in the world. Limited in terms of the types of flora and fauna that can survive in desert regions, it may well be surprising to learn that there are dogged life forms that flourish despite the paucity of precipitation. Lizards, cacti, snakes, rodents, and many other living beings exist in the world's deserts. Likewise, when infrequent rains do arrive, brilliant colors and seasonal life forms pop into view for a short period of time. Like other books in the "Biomes of the Earth" series of which this title is a part, this particular book focuses on issues such as the environmental threats that impact desert systems, life forms existing in deserts, and the way in which desert biomes expand. Taken as a whole this illustrated book is a competently written and readable text that will offer youngsters a great deal of information about the desert regions of the world.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Both of these clearly written titles discuss the geography, geology, ecology, economic uses, and future of these ecosystems. The first title details the wide range of desert types from the hot and sandy to the cold and foggy coastal variety. Tundra includes both the polar regions and the peaks of the Earth's highest mountains. In addition to the topics mentioned, the glacial biological and human history of these ecosystems are covered. The texts, though somewhat dry, are well organized. The authors go well beyond the standard descriptions of these biomes, providing significant information to enable readers to understand both the beauty and value of these areas. Numerous sidebars; captioned maps, diagrams, and scattered charts; and high-quality color photographs of plant and animal life are included. The bibliographies of print and electronic sources are helpful, although some of the works listed in Tundra are dated. Comprehensive and valuable for research.-Eva Elisabeth VonAncken, Trinity-Pawling School, Pawling, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Combines information from biology and chemistry with history, economics, and environmental sciences to explain the desert biome. Examines why deserts form in particular regions and overviews ways in which plants and animals have adapted to deserts. Offers insight on how climatic changes triggered major historical events, and also gives accounts of the lives of desert people, their ways of life, and their future. Allaby has written or edited some 40 books, mainly on science, natural history, and the environment. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)