Not one specific thing is killing off the Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park. Instead, the trees are dying due to ramifications of global climate change. Trees are dying in the increasingly bad droughts and fires. Also, nonnative species are inhabiting the park. This makes it nearly impossible for Joshua trees to reproduce, as the rate at which they propagate is slower than the reproduction rate of invader species. Joshua trees are predicted to be extinct from Joshua Tree National Park in just half a century.
Once the Joshua Tree dies and falls to the ground, the decaying tree becomes home to rodents like the Desert woodrat. Termites eventually finish the job of decomposition, and a new Joshua Tree sprouts in it’s place. Even the Cahuilla Indians used the leaves to make things like baskets and sandals, while the seeds and flower buds were used for food.
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