European Deserts - Pelagic Publishing

European Deserts

Sandy Wilderness on a Green Continent

  • Bold, original and provocative, this is the first book to identify and investigate the phenomenon of deserts in Europe.
  • Firmly grounded in the scientific literature, offers a fresh conceptualisation of these neglected habitats.
  • Focuses upon Europe’s little-known outback regions, whose survival is threatened despite their distinctive biodiversity, landscapes and fascinating human tales.

    • arid land
    • Coming Soon
    • desert
    • wilderness


    This is the untold story of the deserts of Europe. Scattered across the lowlands of this green subcontinent, these sandy, arid and infertile wildernesses are ‘cold deserts’. In existence for millennia and formerly much more extensive, today they present landscapes profoundly different from their surroundings and offer refuge for scarce flora and fauna with nowhere else to go. Fascinating and often magical, though frequently largely barren – or apparently so – they provide a rare glimpse of our planet in its raw form, a collective object lesson about the impact of humanity upon the natural environment.

    Individual chapters cover sites in Spain, France, the Netherlands, Britain, Romania, Germany, Poland and Iceland, many of the places in question being remote and unknown to many. The specialised wildlife of these badlands and heathlands is integral to their unique character, from the great bustard and the stone-curlew to the adder and tiger beetle, from juniper to Corsican pine.

    Invisible in plain sight and often under threat, few recognise or value Europe’s deserts as the relict environments that they are. Unknown, uninhabited and seldom regarded as places of beauty, our knowledge of their origins and the roles that these ‘wastelands’ once played in economies and societies is remarkably scant. Frequently poverty-stricken regions, many had reputations as undesirable and even dangerous places. Vast expanses of these unique habitats have been ‘reclaimed’ for farming and forestry. This groundbreaking book reveals their remnant wonders and makes an indisputable case that any remaining fragments must be preserved and treasured.

    DOI: 10.53061/SECA1952

    About the Author

    Chris Stone is an English academic, environmentalist and adventurer. After attaining a BA in environment he worked for a local wildlife trust. He went on to gain a PhD in the field of environmental planning and development, and subsequently held several positions in UK higher-education institutions, teaching and researching subjects including sustainable development, environmental planning and management. He is acknowledged as an expert in sustainable tourism.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 280 pages
    • BISAC NAT045010, NAT011000, SCI020000