Rebecca Hays Barho Comments on Impact of Joshua Tree Listing


Rebecca Hays Barho was quoted in the Outside magazine article “The Fight for the Joshua Tree Could Be a Watershed Moment for Species Protection.” The article examines a recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California stating that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) failure to list the iconic Joshua tree as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) was in error. Among other things, the plaintiff in that case claimed that the agency failed to adequately consider threats to the tree caused by climate change.

Commenting on how the Joshua tree case may impact future federal actions addressing climate change in the push to protect biodiversity, Rebecca said, “This ruling may make the USFWS more comfortable with listing species that currently do not exhibit downward trends in numbers or in habitat, but may experience decline decades in the future as a result of climate change.” She also noted the case’s significance in underlining the importance of modeling in ESA listing decisions and potentially setting precedent for future USFWS activities.

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