Western Joshua Tree denied Federal Protection



While the local and regional focus has been on California Fish and Wildlife considerations to permanently place the Western Joshua Tree on the state’s endangered species list, the same debate has been taking place at the federal level.

Last week, the US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the iconic tree under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The federal agency, which has been under review since 2015, previously denied a request to list the species, but following an appeal by WildEarth Guardians in 2019, a federal district court ordered the agency to reconsider. So last week’s decision was the second time the US Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the species.

In its results, the service only considered the risk of extinction of the Joshua trees between 2040 and 2069. Studies assume that the species decline due to climate change before 2100 is unlikely. In California, the future of the species may be more promising due to the proposed Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act and the tree’s potential listing by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Services as threatened.

These proposals could be decided as early as this summer.

Previously reported: