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The New York Times interactive published a look back at the 2020 fire season in California and its devastating impact on three iconic tree species — the coastal redwood, the giant sequoia, and the Joshua tree. Thousands of them — some of which were hundreds or even thousands of years old — burned in the […]
by Amy Lupica, ODP Contributing Writer On Tuesday, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to accept a petition that will grant the Joshua tree, the famous twisty-limbed yucca plant native to the Mojave desert, endangered species status for one year while the state conducts a study. The plant is now considered a “candidate species” […]
The state of California is considering whether to formally designate southern California’s iconic Joshua Tree as an endangered species, and it seems that local developers and businesses, including the renewable power industry are pushing back and expressing concerns. The California Fish and Game Commission put off a decision last week on whether to study whether the famed tree is endangered, saying they needed more time look at the issue.
Why This Matters: Clashes like this between conservationists and the renewable energy industry are bound to increase. We will need to find ways to reconcile these competing environmental interests. Our future depends on it.
Joshua trees have lived in the Mojave desert for 2.5m years yet their demise might come at the hands of humans. Last year, a study found that even in a best-case scenario, with major efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, 80% of the trees’ habitat will be whittled away. It’s for this reason that after decades […]
With the shutdown over, for employees of our country’s National Parks, the tough clean up job is just getting started. Sadly the toll of the shutdown on our natural heritage may have been greater than feared in some locations. For example, Joshua Tree National Park suffered damage from vandalism that will be irreparable for the next 200 to 300 years, according to former park superintendent Curt Sauer. The Trump Administration kept many parks open for most or all of the shutdown, but volunteers who helped clean up trash and service bathrooms in popular parks like Joshua Tree could not keep up with routine maintenance, much less stop the vandals.
As of last Friday, the government shutdown has gone on for 13 days, with no end in sight. The shutdown has meant that national parks have been severely understaffed as trash and restroom waste have been allowed to pile up. As the Washington Post explained, no one is at the gate. No one is collecting a fee. The visitor centers are closed. There are some law enforcement and emergency personnel on site, but certainly nothing as standard as a park ranger who can answer a question.
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