Scottsdale Area Hiking, Biking & Trail Guide - 7

SUSTAINING LIFE IN THE DESERT
With as much sunshine (330 days per year) and as little rainfall (9 inches annually) as
we get in the desert it might seem impossible that so many species could not only exist
here, but actually thrive. Their success is largely due to special adaptations that make
the most of what little moisture we do get .
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Most cacti have pleated stems
that expand to store rainwater
for times of drought .
Cactus spines provide shade
for the stem and act as a wind
break to reduce water loss .
The root systems of many
desert plants are shallow and
grow outward rather than
down to better absorb surface
moisture .
Certain plants, like palo verde
trees, conserve water by
dropping their leaves during
the dry season .
Small mammals, including
cottontails and jackrabbits,
get most of their water from
the vegetation they eat .
Desert tortoises have large
bladders that can store up to
40 percent of their weight in
water for use when needed .

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Scottsdale Area Hiking, Biking & Trail Guide

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Scottsdale Area Hiking, Biking & Trail Guide

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