Deserts represent the ultimate challenge to life on Earth. Their lack of water and extreme temperatures make survival difficult for both wildlife and people, yet deserts are rich in animal and plant life and culture. Their unique species and ancient civilizations include fragile treasures needing protection in a rapidly changing world. Deserts are among our planet's last great wilderness regions, and they continue to offer scientific puzzles and new discoveries. Deserts: The Living Drylands is a celebration of the world's least understood ecosystems. In this richly illustrated book -- featuring 180 color photographs -- wildlife expert Sara Oldfield leads readers on a journey to some of the most remote places on earth, from the rolling sand dunes of the Arabian Peninsula's Empty Quarter to the ancient rock formations of central Australia. Deserts is both a vivid inventory of spectacular images, facts, and stories and an invaluable source of reference. It brings to life our planet's unique arid habitats at a time when they are more in need of protection than ever.The book begins with a survey of deserts around the world, describing desert exploration over the centuries, the geographical distribution and diversity of deserts, their ancient and evolving landscapes, water in the desert, desert ecology and adaptations, people, and resources. Deserts then explores deserts and drylands in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, looking at wildlife, landforms, and traditional cultures. Finally, it focuses on the future of deserts, discussing conservation, desertification, the protection of desert ecosystems and landscapes, tourism, and species conservation. The stunning landscapes and highly adaptive biodiversity of deserts are brought to life vividly by the evocative text and dazzling photographs.