About one fifth portion of the earth surface is covered by deserts. These are regions where the rainfall is less than 50 cms annually. As it can be noted from the food web, most deserts in the world have specialized vegetations and animals with special adaptations. Though the soils in the desert are having abundant minerals, its uptake by plants is low due to the lack of water. Besides it also lacks organic matter. The vegetation in desert is adapted to the unique climate (craigmarlatt.com).
In the desert biomes, the spiny nature of plants minimizes lose of moisture content by reducing transpiration. Plants such as brittle bushes, creosote bush, bur sage, cat claw, mesquite, rabbit brushes, lyciums, and jujube are abundant in deserts and these are the primary producers in this biome. The primary consumers include rabbits, kangaroo rats, grasshoppers and ants, etc. The secondary consumers include lizards, snakes and birds such as burrowing owls and mammals such as bats (craigmarlatt.com). Further, the energy passes on to the tertiary consumers such as the mountain lion, hawks, coyote and the scavengers.
In recent decades, human impact on most of the biomes is well recorded. Even with the extreme climatic conditions, today desert dwellers make up about one percent of the world population. As a result of this there is exploitation of several natural resources and even extinction of species. Human interferences can be seen in the form of agricultural activities, construction, oil and mineral exploitation, roads and transportation, etc. Agriculture demands water supply and the digging of wells has caused the ground water table to drop in several desert regions. Oil and minerals exploitation takes several million years for its replenishment.
There are hardly any regions of the world where humans have not made any changes or human impact is not visible. Desert landscapes have also been changedin such as way that desert have turned green with the farmers using irrigation from underground sources as well as rivers. Inland waterways and pipes fetch water from remote rivers to these farms and the manmade vegetation is making use of the abundant mineral source for growth.
Further, the oil and mining business support the construction of roads and infrastructures development. Residential apartments for workers and staffs and the air pollution through vehicles have also increased tremendously. Together with the agricultural activities, the increased grazing also posed a threat to the natural desert biomes. The soaring levels of grazing in the deserts can destroy native plant communities. .The increased desertification is another threat (Gale Schools, N.D.). The mining and the agricultural activities may also result in the salinization of the soil.
. The use of vehicles off roads can be a threat to the plants and animal community in deserts. Vehicles in addition to the air pollution can disrupt the desert pavement and varnish, as a result the soil will experience wind erosion. Further, the native plants are slow to grow and once they are damaged, it may take several years to get back the desert vegetation (marietta.edu, N.D.). Development is an achievement of humanity. However, there is a need for sustainable development in all regions of the world. The developmental activities in the fragile environments such as the deserts need specific environmental impact assessment that will allow a sustainable development.
craigmarlatt.com. The Desert Biome. Retrieved from http://www.craigmarlatt.com/school/canada_academic/global_natural_systems_desert_biomes.pdf
Gale Schools, (N.D.) Impact of the desert on human life. Retrieved from http://www.galeschools.com/environment/biomes/desert/human.htm
marietta.edu, (N.D.) The Desert Biome(s). Retrieved from http://www.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/desert.