The following lists are excellent resources for learning more about Utah's desert ecosystems.  Enjoy!

Naturalist Writers

Edward Abbey. 1968.  Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. Touchstone.
Craig Childs. 2000.  The Secret Knowledge of Water: Discovering the Essence of the American Desert.  Back Bay Books.
Craig Childs. 1995.  Stone Desert: A Naturalist exploration of Canyonlands National Park. 
Landscape of Desire: Identity and Nature in Utah’s Canyon Country, Greg Gordon, 2003
Deserts: A Literary Companion, Wayne Grady, 2008
The Desert Year, Joseph Wood Krutch, 1952
Desert Notes: Reflections in the eye of a Raven, Barry Lopez, 1976
Gathering the Desert, Gary Paul Nabhan, 2004
Stone Time, Southern Utah: A Portrait and a Meditation, T. H. Watkins, 1994.
Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, Terry Tempest Williams, 2001
Home is the Desert, Ann Woodin 1964
Wind in the Rock: The Canyonlands of Southeastern Utah, Ann Zwinger, 1978.
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. Wallace Stegner. Penguin Books. New York. 1992.
A Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leopold. Oxford University Press. 1966.
Naturalist. E.O. Wilson. Warner Books. New York. 1994.
Reclaiming the Native Home of Hope: community, ecology and the American west, Edited Robert Keiter 1998

Human History

Sagebrush Country: Land and the American West. Philip L. Fradkin. Alfred A. Knopf. 2004.
Ancient Peoples of the Great Basin & Colorado Plateau. Steven R. Simms. Left Coast Press. 2008.
Paiutes Indian Tribe of Utah


Interpretation for the 21st Century. Larry Beck and Ted Cable Sagamore Publishing. Champaign, IL. 2002.
Interpretive Planning. Lisa Brochu. The National Association for Interpretation. Fort Collins, CO. 2003.
Environmental Interpretation: A Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets. Sam Ham. Fulcrum Publishing. Golden, CO. 1992.
Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources. Douglas M. Knudson, Ted T. Cable, and Larry Beck. Venture Publishing. State College, PA. 2003.
The Interpreter’s Guidebook: Techniques for Programs and Presentations. Kathleen Regnier, Michael Gross, and Ron Zimmerman UW-SP Foundation Press, Inc. Stevens Point, WI. 1992.
Interpreting our Heritage. Freeman Tilden. The University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, NC. 1977.
Freeman Tilden
Freeman Tilden- Father of Heritage Interpretation

Desert Ecoregions

Roadside Geology of Utah. Halka Chronic. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 1990.
Geology of the Great Basin. Bill Fiero. University of Nevada Press. 1987.
Geology of Utah. William Lee Stokes.Utah Museum of Natural History. 1988
Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau.Ron Blakey and Wayne Ranney. Grand Canyon Association. 2008.
Ecological Subregions of the United States
Colorado Plateau BLM Resources
3-D tour of Arches National Park Geology
Slide show of Utah’s geologic history through time
The Colorado Plateau: A Utah History. Donald L. Baars. University of New Mexico Press. 2000.
Utah State University Extension’s Utah Rangelands Website
Changes in Utah's rangelands over time (USU Extension)
Virtual Utah Online Data & Mapmaking

Desert Ecology

Desert Ecology: An Introduction to Life in the Arid Southwest, John Sowell, 2001
Ecology of Desert Systems. Walter G. Whitford. Academic Press. London. 2002
The Sagebrush Ocean: a Natural History of the Great Basin, Stephen Trimble, 1999
The Biology of Deserts, David Ward, 2009
The North American Deserts. Edmund Jaeger. 1967
Natural History of the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin, Harper, St. Clair, Thorne, and Hess (Eds.), 1994.
Deserts. James MacMahon. The Audubon Society Nature guides. 1985.
National Audubon Field Guide to the Southwest, Peter Alden and Peter Friederich, 1999.
The Deserts of the Southwest: A Sierra Club Naturalist’s Guide (2nd ed.), Peggy and Lane Larson, 1990
Desert Critters: Plants and Animals of the Southwest, Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson, 1996
Portraits of Nature, Roy Purcell, 2001
Visions of Antelope Island and Great Salt Lake. Marlin Stum. Utah State University Press. 1999.
A Naturalist’s Guide to Canyon Country, David Williams, 2000
Arches National Park – Nature & Science,
Canyonlands National Park- Nature & Science
Zion National Park- Nature & Science
Food Web complexity (see article: Foraging biology predicts food web complexity)
Grand Staircase-Escalante Geology
Interactive Canyonlands Geologic Atlas
State of Utah Resources Web


Desert Plants of Utah. Berniece A Andersen. Utah State University Extension Electronic Publication. 1996
Intermountain flora: Vascular plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A., vol. 1. A. Cronquist, A.H. Holmgren, N.H. Holmgren and J.L. Reveal. Hafner Publ. Co., New York. 1972
Great Basin Wildflowers. Laird R. Blackwell. Falcon Guide. 2006.
Trees of the Great Basin: A Natural History. Ronald M. Lanner. University of Nevada Press. 1984.
Grasses and Grasslike Plants of Utah: A Field Guide, Roger Banner, Mindy Pratt, and James Bowns, 2005.
Noxious Weed Field Guide for Utah, Nathan Belliston et al., 2nd Edition, 2006.
Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Desert. Janice Bowers. Western National Parks Association. 1993 .
Wild Plants and Native Peoples of the Four Corners, William Dunmire and Gail Tierney, 1997.
Shrubs and Trees of the Southwest Uplands, Francis Elmore, 1976
River and Desert Plants of the Grand Canyon, Kristin Huisinga 2006
Canyon Country Wildflowers. Damian Fagan. Falcon Guide. 1998.
Places in the Sun: Story of Capitol Reef Plants, Susan Meyer and Bettina Schultz, 1990.
Shrubs of the Great Basin: A natural history. Hugh N Mozingo. University of Nevada Press. 1987.
Weeds of the West. Tom D. Whitson, et al. University of Wyoming Press. 2000.
Flowers of the Southwest Mesa, Pauline Patrai, 1959
Trees of Utah and the Intermountain West. Michael Kuhns. Utah State University Press. 1998.
Noxious Weed Field Guide for Utah. Joel Merritt, Nathan D. Belliston, and Steven A Dewey. Utah State University Publication, Design, and Production. 2000.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower CenterNative Plant Image gallery
Vascular Plants of Northern Utah. Richard J. Shaw. Utah State University Press. 1989.
Sagebrush Country: A Wildflower Sanctuary, Ron Taylor, 1992
The Piñon Pine: A natural and cultural history. Ronald M. Lanner. University of Nevada Press. 1981.
Flowers of Canyon Country, Stanley Welsh and Bill Ratcliffe (Brigham Young University Press), 1971.
Wildflowers of Zion National Park, Stanley Welsh (Zion Natural History Association), 1990.
Weeds of the West, 2nd Edition, Tom D. Whitson (Ed.), 2002.
A Utah Flora. Welsh, S.L., N.D. Atwood, S. Goodrich, and L. C. Higgins, eds.. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs. Brigham Young University. 1987.
Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Utah. Beverly J. Albee, Leila M. Shultz, and Sherel Goodrich. Utah Museum of Natural History. Digital version 1988


Utah Wildlife Viewing Guide. Jim Cole. Falcon Press. 1990.
Wildlife of the Intermountain West. Vinson Brown, Charles Yocom, and Aldine Starbuck.Naturegraph Press. 1958.
Animal Diversity Web. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology.
Scats and Tracks of the Desert Southwest, James Halfpenny, 2000.
Creatures of Habitat, Mark Hengesbaugh, 2001.
Utah Conservation Data Center
Fishes of the Great Basin: A Natural History. William F. Sigler and John W. Sigler. University of Nevada Press. 1987.

Arthropods and Insects

The Forgotten Pollinators, S. Buchmann and G Nabhan, 1997
Common Dragonflies of the Southwest, Kathy Biggs, 2004.
Butterflies of the Southwest, Jim Block, 2008
Easy Field Guide to Common Desert Insects, Richard and Sharon Nelson, 1996
Insects of the Southwest, Floyd Werner and Carl Olson, 1994
Field Guide to Plant Galls: Western States, Ron Russo, 2007
Tread Lightly: Venomous and Poisonous Animals of the Southwest, Rich and Margie Wagner, 2005.
Insects of North America. Alexander and Elsie Klots. Chanticleer Press, published by Doubleday & Company, New York.
The Common Insects of North America. Lester A. Swan and Charles S. Papp. Harper & Row Publishers, New York. 1972.
Utah Lepidopterists’ Society

Amphibians and Reptiles

Amphibians and Reptiles of the Grand Canyon National Park. Donald H. Miller, R. Young, T. Gatlin, and J. Richardson. The Grand Canyon Natural History       Association. 1982
Easy Field Guide to Southwestern Snakes, Richard and Sharon Nelson, 1996
Utah’s Amphibians and Reptiles. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Nongame Section. 1987.


The Bird Life of Great Salt Lake, William H. Behle, 1958.
The Roadrunner, James Cornett, 2001.
Utah’s Featured Birds and Viewing Sites: A Conservation Platform for IBAs and BHCAs, Keith Evans and Wayne Martinson, 2008.
Sharing the Land with Pinyon-Juniper Birds, Scott Gillihan (Utah Division of Wildlife), 2006.
Birds of the American Southwest, Lynn Hassler Kaufman, 2000.
Watchable Birds of the Great Basin, David Lukas, 1999.
Watchable Birds of the Southwest. Mary Taylor Gray. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 1995.
Birding Utah, D.E. McIvor, 1998.
Pueblo Birds & Myths, Hamilton A. Tyler and Lawrence Ormsby, 1991.
Condors in Canyon Country, Sophie A. H. Osborn, 2007.
Birds of the Great Basin: A Natural History, Fred A. Ryser, Jr., 1985.
The Sharp-tailed Grouse in Utah: Its Life History, Status, and Management, Utah State Department of Fish and Game, 1950.
Birds of Zion National Park and Vicinity. Roland H. Wauer. Utah State University Press. 1997
Neotropical Migrants of Utah’s West Desert. J.M. Ward and M.R. Conover. Jack H. Berryman Institute. 2000.


Mammals of the Southwestern United States and Northwestern Mexico, E. Lendell Cockrum and Yar Petryszyn, 1992.
Desert Dogs: Coyotes, Foxes, and Wolves, Jonathon Hanson and Roseann Hanson (Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Publication), 1996.
Mammals of Grand Canyon, Donald F. Hoffmeister and James Gordon Irving, 1971.
Coyote, Wyman Meinzer, 1995.
Eating Stone: Imagination and the loss of the Wild, Ellen Meloy, 2005
God’s Dog: A Celebration of the North American Coyote, Hope Ryden, 1979.
Mammals of the Southwest Desert, George Olin and Dale Thompson, 1982.
Pronghorn: Portrait of the American Antelope, Gary Turbak, 1995.
American Pronghorn: Social Adaptations and the Ghosts of Preators Past. John A. Byers. University of Chicago Press. 1997.
Twilight Hunters: Wolves, Coyotes, and Foxes, Gary Turbak and Alan Carey, 1990.
Rocky Mountain Mammals. David M. Armstrong. Rocky Mountain Nature Association. Published by Colorado Associated University Press. 1987.
Mammals of the Southwest. E. Lendell Cockrum. The Arizona Board of Regents. Published by The University of Arizona Press. 1982


Canyons, cultures and environmental change: An introduction to the land-use history of the Colorado Plateau. Grahame, John D. and Thomas D. Sisk, ed. 2002
Rangeland Resources of Utah. Kendall L. Johnson. Utah State University Cooperative Extension Service. 1989.
Land Conservation in Utah: Tools, Techniques, and Initiatives. Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget. . 1997
Bureau of Land Management- Utah
Utah Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative
Utah Division of Wildlife’s Great Basin Research Center
Changes in Utah’s Rangelands Over Time


High Country News
Journal of Arid Environments
Sego Lily: Newsletter of the Utah Native Plant Society
Western North American Naturalist

Children's Books

Alejandro’s Gift ,by Richard Albert and Sylvia Long, 1994.
A Desert Scrapbook, by Virginia Wright Frierson, 2002
Cactus Hotel, by Brenda Guiberson
Phoebe and Chub, by Mathew Hall and Sheila Aldridge, 2005
Way Out in the Desert, byT.J. Marsh, Jennifer Ward,and Kenneth Spengler, 1998
Dig, Wait, Listen: a desert toad’s tale, by April Sayre
Don’t Call Me Pig: A Javelina Story, by Conrad Storad, Beth Neely, and Don Rantz, 2004