Slap on your sunscreen, because we’re going to southern California! It’s the land of blue skies, board shorts, and basking in the sun. It’s also the land of the Joshua tree.
This particular Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia) lives in Joshua Tree National Park, and it’s used to the heat. These shaggy, bizarre looking trees are well adapted to survive in the Mojave Desert ecosystem. The problem is, their ecosystem is changing. A 2015 article in National Geographic highlights the threats the Joshua tree and many other Mojave inhabitants are facing as climate change brings warmer temperatures and increasing droughts to the region.
While adult Joshua trees are able to survive pretty intense heatwaves and droughts, their young offspring are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Baby Joshua trees need more frequent rain than their older, well-established parents, or they will die. In fact, 30 percent of the Joshua tree’s range had very few or no baby trees at the time the National Geographic article was published – that’s a troubling statistic.
Want to learn more about how climate change and other environmental issues are affecting Joshua trees and other species in Joshua Tree National Park? Want to know how you can help? These are some cool resources I stumbled upon while writing this post…
Learn about Joshua Tree National Park’s Explore Responsibly campaign, which even has a hashtag you can use on social media.