[LMB] OT: Practice for terraforming Beta Colony on Earthly deserts.

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sat Jun 19 06:58:46 BST 2021



Gwynne: A word in defence of deserts.
I know it's easy to look at them and say, "Wow, empty space to use."
Obviously they lack the abundance of more temperate climates, but
there's life there, there are complex ecologies, despite the conditions.
There's a huge variety of hot and cold deserts, I'm just giving examples
here from the hot deserts in my own country (since they are a major
part of the continent.)
There's life in the deserts. Tiny nocturnal creatures, insects, some small
reptiles, and so on. Sparse and quiet, but it's there, a valid and balanced
ecology.
The deserts in the centre of Australia have an average rainfall of once
every ten years.
When that rain comes, seeds that have been buried in the ground for a
decade germinate, grow and bloom very rapidly - the ground turns into
a field of flowers. I've seen it, it's amazing.
Lakes form. And tiny eggs that have been dormant in the ground for years
hatch out in the water. Birds fly in from hundreds of kilometres away, or
more.  For a few months abundant life flourishes.
Then the water dries up, the plants send out a new generation of seeds,
and wither away. The water creatures mate and lay their eggs in the mud,
to lie dormant for the next decade or so, until the next rain.
It's not like the flashy, showy temperate areas with their permanent flora
and fauna. But it's life, it's an amazing ecology.
Deserts aren't dead.


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