The Western Joshua Tree Needs Your Help!

  • Posted on 13 May 2022
  • By Angeles Chapter Updates

Why Sierra Club supporters must act quickly to protect Joshua trees 

California’s beloved western Joshua trees (Yucca Brevifolia) are under threat from climate change, wildfire, and development.
In 2020, following a unanimous vote of the California Fish and Game Commission, these beautiful icons of the desert were granted temporary protection. Developers, energy and mining companies and other entities are fighting to end it — and sadly the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), the state agency tasked with advising the commission has recommended against continued protection, downplaying the threats facing these extraordinary, unique trees and demonstrating either a failure or unwillingness to rise to the challenge that climate change presents. 
Western Joshua tree

Enjoy—Joshua tree forests tell a story of survival, resilience, and beauty borne through perseverance. The area has become a mainstay for movies, fashion shoots, advertising campaigns, wedding ceremonies, and tourism. Photo: CanvaPro

Prior to state protection, development in desert boomtowns such as Lancaster and Palmdale uprooted thousands of Joshua trees to make way for roads and shopping malls. Many more were removed to make way for pipelines and energy facilities. If their protection is taken away, scientists project that Joshua trees may be largely gone from their namesake national park by the end of the century.

Explore—Few experiences compare to the solitude and inspiration of backpacking through Joshua tree forests in Califonia’s beautiful Mojave desert. Sierra Club leads multiple expeditions to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding desert annually. Photo: Jocelyn Miller

Fortunately, the commission is not bound by the DFW recommendations and can still vote to protect the trees. In fact, on two occasions last year, the Commission voted to protect species (both fish) even though DFW recommended against protection. 

Protect—The Joshua tree is an important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, providing habitat for numerous birds, mammals, insects, and lizards. Photo: David Neumann

Tell the California Fish and Game Commission: It's time to protect Joshua trees under the state's Endangered Species Act. CLICK HERE to send a personal letter insisting the commission grant Joshua Trees permanent protection on the basis of climate change as a threat to the species. Want to do more? Take your support to the next level: join us mid-June to make a public comment at the CA Fish and Game Commission’s meeting where they’ll be voting to protect the western Joshua tree! RSVP after you send your message.


I grew up seeing Joshua Trees. There are still Joshua Trees in Antelope Valley, but the developers would just bulldoze them if they were not protected. Please protect them.

Add new comment

Enter the characters shown in the image.