California debates listing western Joshua tree as threatened

But numerous other speakers argued the state has no time to waste in listing the species as threatened as the state faces warmer temperatures and more extreme droughts and fires, all of which can hurt the trees. Kelly Herbinson, executive director of the Mojave Desert Land Trust, said Joshua trees are a “keystone” species of the desert, with other species reliant on its survival.

“Climate change is a threat we haven’t had to deal with yet and I get that we’re struggling to figure out the best path forward, but it’s happening and it’s happening now,” she told the commission.

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