The Mojave Desert: Ecosystem Processes and Sustainability, a book edited and composed in part by faculty from the University of Nevada, Reno’s geography department and the Desert Research Institute, earned the University of Nevada Press an Honorable Mention in the 2009 American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence (PROSE).
"It’s neat to be recognized," said Jill Heaton, assistant professor of geography and one of the chief editors of the book. "PROSE recognizes state-of-the-art entries, and it’s great to be alongside them."
The book is the result of a 2004 conference, the third Mojave Desert Science Symposium hosted by the geography department. The scholars at the symposium, specially selected by department organizers, pooled their presentations along with work from other Mojave Desert experts to create the book. It’s a collection of 38 essays detailing threats to the Mojave Desert ecosystem as well as options for its restoration.
"We were getting a lot of good science," said Heaton. "It just made sense to publish it together."
Heaton and her colleagues, including Lynn Fenstermaker and Eric McDonald, both of the Division of Earth and Ecosystem sciences of the University of Nevada’s Desert Research Institute, put a lot of effort into developing a uniform format for the book. The geospatial lab redid each map submitted by contributors to make sure they were clear and consistent throughout the publication.
"I think that’s a major part of it," said Heaton. "The content is obviously very important, but I think the presentation, with consistent graphics and a comprehensive and clear index, makes a big difference."
More than 40 PROSE awards were given for 2009 for excellence in professional, reference or scholarly work. The Mojave Desert: Ecosystem Processes and Sustainability was one of 441 entries analyzed by a 16-member judging panel that included publishing experts and renowned scholars within the PROSE categories (the University of Nevada press was honored in the earth sciences category).
The University of Nevada Press, founded by Robert Laxalt in 1964, publishes high-quality works on subjects ranging from the effects of wildfires to modern-day diasporas.