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Climate and Environment

A New Bill Could Provide Protections for Joshua Trees

Joshua trees stand in Joshua Tree National Park.
Joshua trees (Yucca brevifolia), seen here Joshua Tree National Park, would get protections under proposed legislation.
(Sean Gallup
Getty Images)
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A new bill proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom's administration would further protect Joshua trees by prohibiting anyone from removing or importing the trees without a state permit.

The proposal, called the Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act, would also require the state to work with Native American tribes to create a conservation plan for the tree by 2024.

Why It Matters

The proposal comes following the California Fish and Game Commission's decision Wednesday to postpone designating the native western tree as an endangered species. As candidates for the state's endangered species list since 2020, they are currently protected, but still await a permanent decision from the commission.

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The bill says widespread distribution of the tree in urban and rural communities poses a problem for conservation efforts and permit issues. The commission is now awaiting to see if the proposed bill will become law before making a decision. The bill is expected to go through legislative committee hearings in the coming months.

The Backstory

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition back in 2019 to list the tree as an endangered species, arguing that it needs to be protected from climate change.

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