Climate Change

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.

Learn more about the critical role California deserts play in climate change mitigation here.

Further reading:

A new study shows how climate change is having a much greater impact on birds than small mammals in the Mojave Desert in the southwestern United States.

Anthropogenic Climate Change in Joshua Tree National Park.

Journal of Arid Environments; Climate change effects on southern California deserts.

Learn more from Joshua Tree National Park about anticipated impacts to flora and fauna under a warming climate. offers one of the clearest assessments available of the climate and biodiversity benefits that a given landscape in the U.S. provides.