Joshua Tree National Forest – As climate changes, iconic trees dying in parts of the Park.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK – It’s one of the most picturesque desert landscapes on the planet: the crooked, prickly branches of Joshua trees jutting skyward in fantastic shapes against backdrops of granite boulders. But in parts of Joshua Tree National Park, these iconic trees are gradually dying out.
The knee-high young trees that normally would sprout here have largely vanished from some areas of the national park as the climate has grown hotter and drier in recent decades. The remaining mature trees are slowly dying, their gnarled branches collapsing to the ground. In portions of the park, the Joshua trees that still stand could be the last generation.
“Around the edges is where we’re starting to see thinning like this,” said Josh Hoines, the national park’s vegetation branch chief, scanning a patch of desert dotted with fully grown trees. “We hardly see anything that resembles a small tree.”
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