Joshua Tree National Park Association

JT Refugia

Human Impact

The National Park Service has long tried to preserve the natural resources within its treasured parks. However, park managers now recognize that they may not be able to save all resources and species that are currently threatened. This has led to many hard decisions and deliberate planning to figure out what to prioritize saving. One way we are planning for the future is by identifying and protecting Joshua tree “refugias.” These are areas with higher elevations and more annual rainfall where Joshua Trees may be able to survive in a hotter and drier future.

We help the park in this goal by providing resources for rangers to identify areas where Joshua trees have the best chance of persisting (“refugia”) under a 2-3C change with reduced precipitation, reassess these areas with sufficient frequency to improve conservation practices, and proactively protect refugia going forward by creating defensible space and fuel breaks around and within refugia.

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