Studies around the world have shown that desert ecosystems can act as important carbon sinks. The California deserts account for nearly 10% of the state’s carbon sequestration; below ground in soil and root systems, and above ground in biomass. With desert ecoregions comprising 27% of California, protecting this biome can contribute to securing carbon stores in the state. By limiting development, excessive OHV use, livestock grazing and other activities that disturb desert soils, the state can help ensure these carbon reserves stay in the ground and out of the atmosphere. Given their carbon storage capabilities, conservation of large, intact desert areas could have a high return on investment for climate mitigation.