[PCA] The Iconic, Vanishing Joshua Tree: Species Collapse - Evolution, climate change and sprawl threaten to wipe out Joshua trees across North America

Greg Suba gsuba at cnps.org
Thu Sep 25 13:21:14 CDT 2014

Fascinating article, thank you Patricia.
I believe Dr. Cole's estimate that JT will be unable to reproduce over 90%
of its current range has been tempered somewhat by a subsequent study out
of UC-Riverside (Barrows and Murphy-Mariscal 2012)
<http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2012.03.028> that used finer-scale
climate data to model future distribution of JT in Joshua Tree NP.

That said, there are quality JT stands along transitional habitats at the
southern and northern boundaries of Western Antelope Valley in the West
Mojave that are at-risk from proposed development of large-scale solar and
wind projects. Many stands have already been destroyed or fragmented by
projects built in the last 5 years. The draft Desert Renewable Energy
Conservation Plan (DRECP) released this week by CA state and federal
agencies identifies these very areas as a Development Focus Area for
industrial solar projects.

Articles like this can help us raise awareness of the plight of JT
woodlands, and advocate wise planning that sites projects in such a way as
to avoid further destruction of these iconic habitats - especially those of
highest quality (low roadedness, low % invasive exotics in understory) in
the West Mojave and elsewhere.

Thanks again,
Greg Suba
Conservation Program Director
California Native Plant Society

On Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 10:44 AM, De Angelis, Patricia <
patricia_deangelis at fws.gov> wrote:

> I'm not sure if this article was posted to the list last year, but I could
> not see it in the archives. This fascinating 3-part series captures the
> complexities of ecosystems and the importance of seed collection.
> -Patricia/FWS
> The Iconic, Vanishing Joshua Tree: Species Collapse - Evolution, climate
> change and sprawl threaten to wipe out Joshua trees across North America
> Aug 13, 2013 @ 11:37 AM
> *Editor's Note: This is Part 1 of a three-part series about the precarious
> survival of the Southwest's iconic Joshua trees, which are threatened by
> climate change and urban sprawl. **Click here for Part 2
> <http://www.theactivetimes.com/iconic-vanishing-joshua-tree-part-2>,
> and here for Part 3
> <http://www.theactivetimes.com/iconic-vanishing-joshua-tree-part-3>.*
> Chris Smith has a recurring nightmare. As he pulls up to his field site in
> the Nevada desert, something is amiss. Instead of a forest of twisted,
> charismatic Joshua trees, condominiums dot the landscape.  Smith, an
> evolutionary ecologist from Willamette University, is among a group of
> researchers who have devoted their careers to this fascinating plant. But
> these scientists are now seriously worried. A combination of climate change
> and urban sprawl is challenging the survival of this idiosyncratic species.
>  http://www.theactivetimes.com/iconic-vanishing-joshua-tree-part-1
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