With over 75 percent of its area between the tropics, Africa has a wide range of environmental settings that all differ strikingly from the environments that predominate in Europe and North America. In addition, a large proportion of the lands beyond the tropics are extremely dry. Because of the different environments, both human and physical, on the continent, Africa often is misunderstood. There are numerous broad generalizations, yet few are valid when examined within the diverse realities of the continent. This situation often arises because a single specific case has been extrapolated to represent the whole of the continent.