“What we’re seeing right now is unprecedented. This is serious. And I don’t know that that’s always obvious if you’re not doing this every day and working on the land every day,” she says.
At lower elevations, the western Joshua tree is facing the effects of the worst drought in more than a thousand years. “If you were to go to, say, the West Mojave, or even areas nearby where the drought has been really bad, I mean, they’re mostly brown,” she says.
In its middle elevations, the Joshua tree has been separated into small island habitats by decades of development as the human population in the desert continues to grow. That cuts off genetic flow between populations and creates problems like what LA’s mountain lions are facing.
And then of course, at its middle and higher elevations, the Joshua tree is facing a threat it rarely encountered before: increased wildfire.
Publisher’s note: Thank you to Caleigh Wells and KCRW for permission to publish this article. Find the original article at https://www.kcrw.com/news/shows/greater-la/la-city-council-climate/joshua-tree
Photos by: Caleigh Wells