Islands of Wildness
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Autumn aspens and spruce trees, Sangre de Cristo Mountains, New Mexico, U.S.A. Montane forests of mixed conifers and deciduous trees are among the most complex living environments available. They give rise to many rivers and altitudinal stratification offers countless local homes for creatures found nowhere else.

Grasslands and Prairies

Purple paintbrush, larkspur and wild carrot in long grass on Clymer's Prairie, Texas, U.S.A. Grasslands may appear simple, but actually are complicated fire ecology systems that include two or more herb stories, rich mosses and lichens, and an invisible stratified root system rivaling the varied canopy of a forest. Among the most productive of all living associations, they represent much of the microbial soil wealth of the civilized world.

Sagebrush, grasses and frozen playa lake, Great Basin Desert, Nevada, U.S.A. Low precipitation characterizes vast desert regions of the world, where normal rainfall is below average. Even so, deserts have developed astounding diversity and adaptability to extreme temperatures and desiccation.

Warm Winter Deserts

Ocotillo, saguaro cactus, catclaw acacia and creosote bush, Sonaran Desert, Arizona, U.S.A. Subtropical latitudes, thirty degrees from the equator, show tendencies toward aridity as warm, continually descending air discourages rainfall and lush growth. Unique plant communities fill each desert region, however, from grassy to shrubby, stable to shifting, with or without extensive soil. Although sparsely inhabited and viewed as hostile, desert life may hold the best the world of tomorrow can offer.

All Photographs And Text Copyright (C) 1996 Jim Bones (Unless Otherwise Indicated) Box 101, Tesuque, N.M. 87574 (505-955-0956)
"Light Writings"
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