Talk:High desert

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Definition?[edit]

Someone deleted a section I've added to the page without leaving comments as to why they did it. I've undone the deletion. My only intention is to point out that the term "High Desert" doesn't seem to have an official definition other than colloquial. If someone has sources to support/not support this definition their input would be very welcome. I would like to support my assertion with verifiable, authoritative sources, but since my point is that there ARE no sources on this subject, obviously, there's nothing I can quote.Dfurry 00:54, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

This article discusses the term "High Desert" as if it was a specific, scientific, defined term that has an established usage. Yet, there're no sources to back this up.
Also, what makes the 2000 foot elevation significant? Does it signify habitat change? Difference in precipitation? As far as I can tell from the deserts I've lived in, it's meaningless.
Finally, ALL deserts in North America have vast sections above 2000 feet (which, again, are no different than the land in those areas below 2000 feet).
So unless more information can be cited, I suggest incorporating the following statement:
The term "High Desert" appears to be an undefined, colloquial term referring to areas of desert above 2000 feet MSL. Since this term has no scientific meaning and is extremely generalized, it is useless for categorizing desert regions in terms of habitat, climate, precipitation, or other characteristics.Dfurry 00:54, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Me thinks I know this character DFURRY ;-) Nostrada 07:36, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm removing the material again (see below). Unless this is attributed to reliable sources, it is merely personal opinion, speculation and/or original research. Katr67 (talk) 20:06, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

An argument can be made that the term "High Desert" is arbitrary, with no scientific meaning, other then for colloquial use. Consider that all deserts of North America encorporate vast tracts of land above 2000 feet. While it's true that habitiat, vegetation, climate, and precipitation vary by elevation in deserts, the elevation of these transition zones are different for every region. Therefore, the term "High Desert" seems arbitrary and doesn't seem significant from a scientific standpoint.

Common use in the American west is desert (more properly, sagebrush steppe) above c.5,000 ft.. 2,000 ft in Arizona is low to intermediate Sonoran Desert. Pete Tillman (talk) 15:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Googling around: "Most of the Chihuahuan is considered “high desert,” with average elevations between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, although there are some higher areas and some much lower. Annual precipitation is between eight and 12 inches. Most of the precipitation comes during summer monsoons." --definition_of_a_desert at desertgardens.suite101[dot]com
"The term high desert, like rain forest, is a rather loosely applied in the Pacific Northwest. The sagebrush country south and east of Bend, for example, is widely known as high desert, and it certainly fits the definition of the term..." "High Desert Elk" at Game & Fish >> Washington/Oregon >> Hunting >> Elk Hunting
"The nationally acclaimed High Desert Museum is dedicated to broadening the understanding of the High Desert's wildlife, culture, art and natural resources..." http://highdesertmuseum.com/about_the_museum/
Conclusion: "High Desert" is what the writer points to when he says "this is high desert."
For some reason, WP over-zealous spam-filter thinks one of these links is SPAM (NOT). Deleted links to post, sigh. Cheers, Pete Tillman (talk) 20:54, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

I'm still going to stand by my assertions that the term "high desert" has no scientific meaning. Yes, the people in oregon refer to the region near Bend as high desert. That doesn't make it a scientific term. Consider the term "tri-city area". It's used all over the united states to refer to any grouping of three cities and in wikipedia describes three cities in Poland. If I told you I lived in the "tri city area" you would have no idea where I lived. Same with the High Desert. If you were from oregon, you would assume I was from central oregon. If you were from southern california, you would assume I was from 29 Palms. Two different areas with different climate, elevation, population, plants, environment, etc.

As for references, I want to see specific, definite, scientific references from scientific sources, not stuff "goolged" on the internet. Just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it's true. As for scientific references, I've talked to several experts in central oregon (botanists, wildlife biologists, geologists) about this term. They unanimously agree that it's meaningless and they don't use the term because of that. Dfurry (talk) 20:03, 5 May 2008 (UTC) I suggest removing the first sentence until an official citation can be posted. Dfurry (talk) 20:07, 5 May 2008 (UTC)


Dfurry and Pete Tillman make good points, and no one has refuted them: The definition (and lead sentence/paragraph) is unsourced, and a Google search doesn't return any use of the term "high desert" in a general technical sense, only as a description of a particular geographic area. For us to create such a technical term amounts to original research. Frappyjohn (talk) 18:32, 25 May 2016 (UTC)