Life in the Deserts
Deserts are barren or desolate areas, especially dry and often sandy regions with little rainfall, which is less than 25 cm annually, extreme temperatures, and sparse vegetation. The deserts cover about one-fifth of the surface of the earth. Most deserts have a considerable amount of specialised vegetation. Specialised vertebrate and invertebrate animals are found in deserts. People inhabit these lands and practice agriculture wherever little water is available.
There are two types of deserts:
Hot Deserts, and
The Sahara is largest hot desert of the world, covering a large part of North Africa. Oases in the Sahara and the Nile Valley in Egypt support the settled population. The Sahara desert touched eleven countries. These are Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Sudan, Tunisia and Western Sahara. Bare rocky surface, more than 2,500 m high is found in some places here. The Sahara has one of the lowest population densities on earth. Majority of the people living in the Sahara are nomads. It is sparsely covered with vegetation like grasses and shrubs. The species found here are adapted to unreliable precipitation and extreme temperatures.
Ladakh is a cold desert, which lies in the Great Himalayas in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Karakoram Range and Zanskar mountains lie in the north and south of Ladakh, respectively. Ladakh lies on the rain shadow side of the Himalayas. In summer, the day temperatures are just above 0°C, which can go down to -30°C in the night. It is freezing cold in winters when the temperatures may remain below -40°C for most of the time. The entire area is devoid of any natural vegetation.