Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Living Mojave - an desert botanist's blog

Welcome to Living Mojave, a blog dedicated to the plant life of the northern Mojave desert.

The Mojave is not what people typically envision when they hear the word desert. In the Mojave, we have few sandy areas, few cacti, and a considerable botanical diversity, with an estimated 1500-2000 species of plants, many of which are endemic to the area. The Mojave itself is what's called a cool season desert, meaning that it doesn't receive as much winter rainfall, on average only 10 inches per year, as the warmer Sonoran desert to the south.

While the lowlands tend to have one dominant plant type, the Mojave is riddled with mountains, hills and canyons, all of which have a considerable bio-diversity. This is due to what some scientists call an "island in the sky" effect, which is where plants and animals are isolated by a tract of impassable land rather than water. Evolutionarily, it has the same effect of isolating populations, and producing speciation events. As such, there is considerable evolutionary potential, even from one valley to another.
This blog will attempt to detail some of the species of plant found out in the Mojave, from common and indicator species to rare and special status species.

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