Landscapes and Landforms By Evan Armstrong Deserts • A desert is a barren landscape which loses more moisture than it gains. They generally receive very little rainfall and the small amount they do get is in the form of a few large storms. Facts about deserts: • Any location that receives less than 25 centimetres of rain per year is considered a desert. Deserts are found on every continent and cover more than one fifth of the Earth's land. • Deserts have extreme temperature ranges. Ranging from a scorching 50 ° C during the day to a freezing -18° C at night. The wide range in temperatures is due to the lack of moisture which helps stabilise the temperature. • Fact 3 • Fact 4 Plants and animals Human impact • Deserts are very vulnerable to the impact of humans due to their fragile ecosystem. Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture. The dust bowl in the USA is an example of desertification where excessive agriculture lead to massive choking dust storms that killed people and live stock. Ocean Human impact – mountaintop removal • Mountaintop removal mining devastates the biosphere, turning areas that should be lush with forests and wildlife into barren moonscapes. Huge machines, push rock and dirt into nearby streams and valleys, forever burying waterways to reach the coal underneath. Human impact – rainforest removal • Tropical rainforests cover a massive amount of the world’s surface and each year over 90,000 square miles are harvested for human use. Nearly 2% of the rainforest is lost annually and approximately 137 species of plants, animals and insects disappear everyday. Once the trees have been cut down, the land is used for agriculture.