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With climate breakdown heating up and desertification looming over the horizon, Obi Kaufmann leads curious adventurers on a voyage into the sage-and-ocher landscapes of the American West’s world-famous desert regions this fall in his revelatory and sumptuously illustrated new volume The Deserts of California: A California Field Atlas. As philosophical as it is geophysical, this journey blends science and art in Kaufmann’s signature style to throw into relief ecological insights greater than either might yield alone. Through expressionistic mapmaking, wildlife renderings, and geographic conservation guides, Kaufmann explores the marvels of and threats to these resilient yet sensitive ecosystems.
“The Deserts of California presumes that hope, like healing, relies on time,” writes Kaufmann. “If there is time, there is hope. Although every desert habitat type is threatened, very little of it is yet extinct. Despite the complexity of the threat, everywhere there is precedent for resurgence.”
Of a piece with his best-selling books The Forests of California (2020) and The Coasts of California (2022), The Deserts of California (October 2023) rounds out Kaufmann’s expansive California Lands Trilogy. Individually and collectively, these volumes set out to transform entrenched colonialist attitudes toward the American West, and transform our concept of nature from a resource for extraction to a shared and cherished inheritance.
An in-person and virtual presentation by Obi Kaufmann, author, illustrator, and naturalist