The Sonoran Desert : The Desert

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1. The Sonoran Desert
The term desert is strongly connected to the image of an extremely harsh environment void of any life. The sand dunes at the Gulf of California would fit this description of a desert biome, but for large parts the Sonoran Desert has a stunning array of different organisms.
The defining character of a desert is usually low levels of rainfall with under 25 cm per year. Additional to that, the relationship between rainfall and the evaporated and transpired water must be taken into consideration. “A desert is a biological community in which most of the indigenous plants and animals are adapted to chronic aridity and periodic, extreme droughts, and in which these conditions are necessary to maintain the community’s structure” (Phillips, Comus, 2000, p. 10). This means that it is the environmental and climatic conditions that have created an evolutionary pressure for the flora to develop.
The Sonoran Desert is the most biodiverse desert in the world. This is due to the age of it, the sub-tropical climate in large parts of it, the creation of micro-habitats due to the different landforms and the diverse rainfall patterns. There are about 2500 species that can be found in it. It partially has a very high endemism with for example 552 species being endemic to Baja California. Numerous desert plants have been used by humans for food and medicine. Some plants like Agave tequilana which is grown to produce alcoholic beverages have some economic importance as
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