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America’s Western Joshua Tree is Now Endangered

The western Joshua tree has historical and regional value to communities in the western United States where Joshua trees have existed for over 2 million years. But, their future is uncertain. Their long-term survival has been challenged by a number of climate-related issues. The trees are only found in desert conditions and most of them are in the  West and Southwest. Unfortunately, the range in which the trees can exist is rapidly shrinking.

California recently voted to permanently protect the otherworldly western Joshua tree, as the desert plant faces challenges caused by development and climate change. The iconic trees will be protected under the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act that was recently passed. The act prohibits the unauthorized removal and killing of these plants. Those who are caught doing so will be fined, and the money collected will be “deposited into the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Fund” to further support protection efforts.

Western Joshua trees clearly qualify as threatened according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

Book recommendation: “The Giving Tree of the Desert: The tale of a saguaro cactus and its nurse tree” by Danielle Fradette  (Author), Tais Lemos  (Illustrator)

Joshua tree in desert with yucca cactus in foreground and mountain in background
Joshua Tree by Comstock Images
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