Wednesday, September 17, 2014  

 Fauna & Flora

Flora

Due to the paucity of water, the Sahara contains almost no flora.  From the Mediterranean vegetation which covered the Sahara mountains before they became a desert, only laurel and cypress trees remain in the region near gueltas.

Plants were adapted to the climate to reduce evaporation and increase water absorption: very small leaves, very long roots which can reach the most humid layers of soil ( acacias, tamarisks), water accumulation in the tissues and leaves covered with wax (succulent), lose their roots and let themselves be driven in order to absorb the atmosphere humidity (roses of Jericho), lose their leaves when it is arid and make them grow when it is humid (zilla),  make their leaves uneatable ( Sodome apple trees),…

We can find some isolated bushes (tamarisks, acacias) in bed rivers. The rare showers can bring about some meagre meadows, Acheb, wanted by nomads.

Date palm trees, introduced by Arabs, is requisite for the existence of humans in the oasis: dates are very energetic food, trunks are used to make beams, leaves are used to make baskets, ropes, mats and covers for huts,… its preserves fruit trees against the sun.

Fauna

Animals have also created some strategies to preserve water and avoid hot weather: thick skin and underground life for scorpions and insects, recuperation of water steam in pulmonary air by condensing it in nostrils, production of drained faeces and concentrated urine for some birds, loss of sudoriferous glands,  clear colored skin to reflect the sun, search for water and food at night, accumulation of water in internal pockets, large ears to regulate calorific waste ( fennecs, sand cats), short hairs for better thermolysis, increase of internal temperature to avoid perspiration…

The emblematic animals of the desert are addaxes, gazelles, doncas and fennecs.

Camels are the main animal of the desert. Without them, humans could not have lived in the Sahara. They have a great capacity to resist heat and thirst. Even above 50°, they can stay without drinking water for many days. Camels can carry about 250 kg of commodities between two distant places.

    

1. What do you think about the autonomy plan for Western Sahara proposed by the Kingdom of Morocco ?


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