Hot deserts are not just stretches of sand and scorching sun; they are dynamic biomes crucial to the development of mineral reserves. They also play a significant role in the Earth’s ecosystem. Found on most continents on Earth, these dry regions have many unique geological features. Within them, are a range of specially adapted plants and animals.
The extreme conditions and the adaptations in hot deserts have encouraged life forms that offer insights into resilience and survival.
If you need a refresher on what a biome is, or how they function, read our pages on biomes here.
Hot deserts are generally found around the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, between 15 and 30 degrees North and South of the Equator. They are very dry areas with a significant diurnal temperature range of around 45 degrees Celsius on the high end. To read more about the distribution and physical characteristics of hot deserts, please click here.
Hot deserts are home to a variety of plant and animal life; however, they have a lower level of biodiversity compared to most biomes. The flora and fauna there have successfully adapted to living in a challenging environment. To learn more about biodiversity and adaptation, please click here.
Although hot deserts have low biodiversity, they are functioning biomes with a level of interdependency. Humans use hot deserts for various purposes, including agriculture and mining, and must ensure that the balance of life in the biome is respected and maintained. To learn more about interdependency in hot deserts, click here.
To read about a case study on the Thar Desert, which investigates various aspects of development in hot deserts, please click here. Meanwhile, if you’d like to learn more about desertification and the impact of human activity on hot desert biomes, please click here.
Here is a revision guide providing an overview of hot deserts: