Far from being barren wastelands, deserts are biologically rich habitats with a vast array of animals and plants that have adapted to the harsh conditions there. Some deserts are among the planet’s last remaining areas of total wilderness. Yet more than one billion people, one-sixth of the Earth’s population, actually live in desert regions. Deserts are part of a wider classification of regions called “drylands.” And despite the common conceptions of deserts as dry and hot, there are cold deserts as well.

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