The biotic factors of the desert biome include the living organisms, such as plants and animals, that call the desert home, while abiotic factors include the elements and resources to support life, such as sunlight, water and air. Deserts around the world vary in the number and variety of living organisms that they support; their ability or inability to support life depends largely on the availability of abiotic factors.
The abiotic factors found in desert habitats include light, water, atmospheric gases, wind and soil. This group of factors also includes physiographic features (or the desert landscape) and the surrounding temperatures. These components are all necessary to support desert life, but light and light energy are considered by many to be the most important of all abiotic factors. Light provides plants and vegetation with energy, which is used for photosynthesis, a process that involves the manufacture of organic substances using a combination of inorganic substances. Additionally, light is absorbed by cold-blooded species, such as reptiles, which are commonly found in desert biomes. Unlike warm-blooded mammals, cold-blooded species do not produce heat internally, and rely on the sun's rays to provide them with warmth and energy. Many deserts vary in the variety of species they support but contain mammals, reptiles and flora such as cacti and flowering plants.
About one-third of the land on earth can be classified as an arid or semi-arid desert area. Although inhospitable, humans have tried to live in deserts for many thousands of years. The most successful have been nomads, who keep moving to wherever food and water are available.