About the cover photo...


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About the cover photo...

The rugged Baboquivari Mountains on the Papago Indian Reservation in southern Arizona (background) are parent to much of the coarse basin fill in the desert valley floor (foreground).

Older, weathered basin fill, aeolian deposits and fluvial sediments have blended to become the soils that support the relatively dense vegetation between the mountains and the valley floor.

Papago folk science recognizes the association between the mountains and the fertility of the floodplain soils that the tribe has farmed through the centuries.

Sonoran Desert soils are often low in organic matter and sometimes have poorly developed horizons in their profiles. Yet they clearly exhibit many of the chemical and physical properties that have allowed scientists to gain insight into soil development.

Gary Paul Nabhan author of the The Desert Smells like Rain

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