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A desert is generally without water and vegetation.
A green patch with fresh water and green trees in the middle
of a vast desert is a beautiful sight.
A desert may be too hot or too cold.
THOSE of us who live in regions covered with forests and
surrounded by hills may find it difficult to imagine what a
desert is really like. The popular belief is that it is an endless
stretch of sand where no rain falls and, therefore, no
vegetation grows. It is dry, hot, waterless and without
shelter. But this is not entirely correct. For those who have
studied it, the desert can be a beautiful place. It is the
home of a variety of people, animals and plants that have
learnt to live under very hot and dry conditions.
True, the ground is not always hidden by a cover of
grass, plants and trees as it is in other climates. But
whenever it rains, which is rare, desert flowers bloom and
the sight can be as rewarding as that of any tropical garden.
A desert is not always a flat, unchanging wasteland of dry
sand. It may have mountains and hills. It may have an oasis,
big or small. An oasis is like a green island in the middle of a
desert where a spring or a well gives plants and trees a better
regions: areas
2022-23
Page 2


A desert is generally without water and vegetation.
A green patch with fresh water and green trees in the middle
of a vast desert is a beautiful sight.
A desert may be too hot or too cold.
THOSE of us who live in regions covered with forests and
surrounded by hills may find it difficult to imagine what a
desert is really like. The popular belief is that it is an endless
stretch of sand where no rain falls and, therefore, no
vegetation grows. It is dry, hot, waterless and without
shelter. But this is not entirely correct. For those who have
studied it, the desert can be a beautiful place. It is the
home of a variety of people, animals and plants that have
learnt to live under very hot and dry conditions.
True, the ground is not always hidden by a cover of
grass, plants and trees as it is in other climates. But
whenever it rains, which is rare, desert flowers bloom and
the sight can be as rewarding as that of any tropical garden.
A desert is not always a flat, unchanging wasteland of dry
sand. It may have mountains and hills. It may have an oasis,
big or small. An oasis is like a green island in the middle of a
desert where a spring or a well gives plants and trees a better
regions: areas
2022-23
16
An Alien Hand
mounds: big heaps
chance to grow. A desert may be hot like the Thar or cold like
Ladakh. But, generally speaking, if a place has little or no
water and vegetation, people usually call it a desert.
Some deserts are almost totally without water. In such
places, strong winds blow raising heaps of sand and
depositing them as mounds. These are called ‘sand dunes’
that shift and move endlessly across the desert. Few plants
can survive on such dry, shifting sands.
1. From the first paragraph
(i) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as most people
believe it is;
(ii) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as specialists
see it.
Which do you think is an apt description, and why?
2022-23
Page 3


A desert is generally without water and vegetation.
A green patch with fresh water and green trees in the middle
of a vast desert is a beautiful sight.
A desert may be too hot or too cold.
THOSE of us who live in regions covered with forests and
surrounded by hills may find it difficult to imagine what a
desert is really like. The popular belief is that it is an endless
stretch of sand where no rain falls and, therefore, no
vegetation grows. It is dry, hot, waterless and without
shelter. But this is not entirely correct. For those who have
studied it, the desert can be a beautiful place. It is the
home of a variety of people, animals and plants that have
learnt to live under very hot and dry conditions.
True, the ground is not always hidden by a cover of
grass, plants and trees as it is in other climates. But
whenever it rains, which is rare, desert flowers bloom and
the sight can be as rewarding as that of any tropical garden.
A desert is not always a flat, unchanging wasteland of dry
sand. It may have mountains and hills. It may have an oasis,
big or small. An oasis is like a green island in the middle of a
desert where a spring or a well gives plants and trees a better
regions: areas
2022-23
16
An Alien Hand
mounds: big heaps
chance to grow. A desert may be hot like the Thar or cold like
Ladakh. But, generally speaking, if a place has little or no
water and vegetation, people usually call it a desert.
Some deserts are almost totally without water. In such
places, strong winds blow raising heaps of sand and
depositing them as mounds. These are called ‘sand dunes’
that shift and move endlessly across the desert. Few plants
can survive on such dry, shifting sands.
1. From the first paragraph
(i) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as most people
believe it is;
(ii) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as specialists
see it.
Which do you think is an apt description, and why?
2022-23
17
The Desert
2. The phrases on the left in the following box occur in the text.
Match each of them with a phrase on the right.
(i) an endless stretch of sand l fertile place with water and
plants in a desert
(ii) waterless and without l not visible because the grass
shelter is thick
(iii) an oasis l nothing but sand as far as one
can see
(iv) hidden by a cover of grass l no water and no shade
Desert plants and animals learn to require much less water
than most plants and animals.
The camel is a typical desert animal.
Smaller desert animals have unusual means of satisfying
their need for water.
All living things need water in order to survive. The few
plants and animals that live in deserts have developed the
ability to require less water than most plants and animals.
The camel, popularly known as the ‘ship of the desert’, can
drink a lot of water at one time. Camels can do without
2022-23
Page 4


A desert is generally without water and vegetation.
A green patch with fresh water and green trees in the middle
of a vast desert is a beautiful sight.
A desert may be too hot or too cold.
THOSE of us who live in regions covered with forests and
surrounded by hills may find it difficult to imagine what a
desert is really like. The popular belief is that it is an endless
stretch of sand where no rain falls and, therefore, no
vegetation grows. It is dry, hot, waterless and without
shelter. But this is not entirely correct. For those who have
studied it, the desert can be a beautiful place. It is the
home of a variety of people, animals and plants that have
learnt to live under very hot and dry conditions.
True, the ground is not always hidden by a cover of
grass, plants and trees as it is in other climates. But
whenever it rains, which is rare, desert flowers bloom and
the sight can be as rewarding as that of any tropical garden.
A desert is not always a flat, unchanging wasteland of dry
sand. It may have mountains and hills. It may have an oasis,
big or small. An oasis is like a green island in the middle of a
desert where a spring or a well gives plants and trees a better
regions: areas
2022-23
16
An Alien Hand
mounds: big heaps
chance to grow. A desert may be hot like the Thar or cold like
Ladakh. But, generally speaking, if a place has little or no
water and vegetation, people usually call it a desert.
Some deserts are almost totally without water. In such
places, strong winds blow raising heaps of sand and
depositing them as mounds. These are called ‘sand dunes’
that shift and move endlessly across the desert. Few plants
can survive on such dry, shifting sands.
1. From the first paragraph
(i) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as most people
believe it is;
(ii) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as specialists
see it.
Which do you think is an apt description, and why?
2022-23
17
The Desert
2. The phrases on the left in the following box occur in the text.
Match each of them with a phrase on the right.
(i) an endless stretch of sand l fertile place with water and
plants in a desert
(ii) waterless and without l not visible because the grass
shelter is thick
(iii) an oasis l nothing but sand as far as one
can see
(iv) hidden by a cover of grass l no water and no shade
Desert plants and animals learn to require much less water
than most plants and animals.
The camel is a typical desert animal.
Smaller desert animals have unusual means of satisfying
their need for water.
All living things need water in order to survive. The few
plants and animals that live in deserts have developed the
ability to require less water than most plants and animals.
The camel, popularly known as the ‘ship of the desert’, can
drink a lot of water at one time. Camels can do without
2022-23
18
An Alien Hand
burrow: move underground by digging moisture: wetness
adapt: change absorb: take in completely
water for days together. The reason is they sweat very little.
We sweat because we must keep our body temperature
constant. We sweat when it gets hot, and this cools the
body. Camels can stand high body temperature. They don’t
need to sweat and can, therefore, retain the water they drink
for long periods of time.
The smaller desert animals do not drink water. They burrow
underground during the hot day and come out at night to
eat. Some of them eat other animals and get the water they
need from the moisture in the meat. Others eat plants and
seeds and get the water they need from plant juices.
Desert plants also adapt themselves to the life they lead.
Cactus plants store water in their thick stems. Their roots
lie close to the surface of the ground and quickly absorb
the moisture from the light rains that occasionally fall. The
major feature of all deserts is, of course, dryness and
2022-23
Page 5


A desert is generally without water and vegetation.
A green patch with fresh water and green trees in the middle
of a vast desert is a beautiful sight.
A desert may be too hot or too cold.
THOSE of us who live in regions covered with forests and
surrounded by hills may find it difficult to imagine what a
desert is really like. The popular belief is that it is an endless
stretch of sand where no rain falls and, therefore, no
vegetation grows. It is dry, hot, waterless and without
shelter. But this is not entirely correct. For those who have
studied it, the desert can be a beautiful place. It is the
home of a variety of people, animals and plants that have
learnt to live under very hot and dry conditions.
True, the ground is not always hidden by a cover of
grass, plants and trees as it is in other climates. But
whenever it rains, which is rare, desert flowers bloom and
the sight can be as rewarding as that of any tropical garden.
A desert is not always a flat, unchanging wasteland of dry
sand. It may have mountains and hills. It may have an oasis,
big or small. An oasis is like a green island in the middle of a
desert where a spring or a well gives plants and trees a better
regions: areas
2022-23
16
An Alien Hand
mounds: big heaps
chance to grow. A desert may be hot like the Thar or cold like
Ladakh. But, generally speaking, if a place has little or no
water and vegetation, people usually call it a desert.
Some deserts are almost totally without water. In such
places, strong winds blow raising heaps of sand and
depositing them as mounds. These are called ‘sand dunes’
that shift and move endlessly across the desert. Few plants
can survive on such dry, shifting sands.
1. From the first paragraph
(i) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as most people
believe it is;
(ii) pick out two phrases which describe the desert as specialists
see it.
Which do you think is an apt description, and why?
2022-23
17
The Desert
2. The phrases on the left in the following box occur in the text.
Match each of them with a phrase on the right.
(i) an endless stretch of sand l fertile place with water and
plants in a desert
(ii) waterless and without l not visible because the grass
shelter is thick
(iii) an oasis l nothing but sand as far as one
can see
(iv) hidden by a cover of grass l no water and no shade
Desert plants and animals learn to require much less water
than most plants and animals.
The camel is a typical desert animal.
Smaller desert animals have unusual means of satisfying
their need for water.
All living things need water in order to survive. The few
plants and animals that live in deserts have developed the
ability to require less water than most plants and animals.
The camel, popularly known as the ‘ship of the desert’, can
drink a lot of water at one time. Camels can do without
2022-23
18
An Alien Hand
burrow: move underground by digging moisture: wetness
adapt: change absorb: take in completely
water for days together. The reason is they sweat very little.
We sweat because we must keep our body temperature
constant. We sweat when it gets hot, and this cools the
body. Camels can stand high body temperature. They don’t
need to sweat and can, therefore, retain the water they drink
for long periods of time.
The smaller desert animals do not drink water. They burrow
underground during the hot day and come out at night to
eat. Some of them eat other animals and get the water they
need from the moisture in the meat. Others eat plants and
seeds and get the water they need from plant juices.
Desert plants also adapt themselves to the life they lead.
Cactus plants store water in their thick stems. Their roots
lie close to the surface of the ground and quickly absorb
the moisture from the light rains that occasionally fall. The
major feature of all deserts is, of course, dryness and
2022-23
19
The Desert
variations of temperature. In
humid climates, the moisture
in the air acts like a blanket
and protects the earth’s
surface from the hot rays of
the sun. The absence of this
blanket in desertlands causes
the desert to heat up rapidly
during the day and to cool off
rapidly at night.
Deserts are an important part of nature’s great plan.
They are there like the dense forests and the deep oceans.
Just because they are hot and dry, one should not look
upon them as useless parts of the earth.
1. A camel can do without water for days together. What is the
reason given in the text?
2. How do the smaller desert animals fulfil their need for water?
3. In a desert the temperature rises during the day and falls rapidly
at night. Why?
Do the following activities in groups.
1. Describe a desert in your own way. Write a paragraph and read
it aloud to your classmates.
2. Go to the library and collect information about the lifestyle of
people in desert areas — their food, clothes, work, social customs,
etc. Share this information with the group.
variations: changes humid: containing moisture
2022-23
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FAQs on NCERT Textbook: The Desert - English An Alien Hand Class 7

1. What is the desert?
Ans. The desert is a dry, barren land with little or no vegetation. It is a place where the climate is extreme, with high temperatures during the day and low temperatures at night.
2. How do plants and animals survive in the desert?
Ans. Plants and animals in the desert have adapted to the harsh environment by developing special features that help them conserve water. For example, cacti have thick, fleshy stems that can store water for long periods. Animals like the camel have humps that store fat, which can be used as a source of energy when food and water are scarce.
3. What are the different types of deserts?
Ans. There are four main types of deserts: hot and dry deserts, semi-arid deserts, coastal deserts, and cold deserts. Each type of desert has its own unique features and characteristics.
4. How do humans impact the desert ecosystem?
Ans. Humans impact the desert ecosystem in many ways. Activities such as mining, oil and gas exploration, and construction can destroy habitats, disrupt food chains, and reduce biodiversity. Overgrazing by livestock can also damage the fragile desert ecosystem.
5. What are some ways to conserve the desert ecosystem?
Ans. To conserve the desert ecosystem, it is important to reduce human impact by using sustainable practices such as limiting the use of water, reducing pollution, and practicing responsible tourism. Additionally, efforts can be made to restore damaged ecosystems by planting native vegetation and reintroducing wildlife species.
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