A New Petition Aims to Make the Joshua Tree an Endangered Species

Urban sprawl and climate change sited as reasons for concern.

Brendan Cummings, a conservation director for the Center for Biological Diversity, recently filed a petition with the California Fish and Game Commission to list the western Joshua tree as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Conservationists have raised alarm that the tree has stopped reproducing and the range is contracting at lower elevations.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “The western Joshua tree is one of two genetically distinct species that occur in California. It has a boomerang-shaped range that extends from Joshua Tree National Park westward along the northern slopes of the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains; northward along the eastern flanks of the Sierra Nevada and eastward to the edges of Death Valley National Park.

The area includes the cities of Palmdale, Lancaster, Hesperia, Victorville, Yucca Valley and the 800,000- acre national park, where an estimated 2.5 million Joshua trees will lose upward of 90% of their current range if warmer, drier conditions continue in the coming decades.”

You can read more about the plight of the western Joshua tree here.