Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

New study sees better future for Joshua trees

May 13, 2011, 8:38 am

Over several months this fall and winter, dozens of volunteers fanned out across the Mojave Desert in search of the smallest Joshua tree they could find.

They were part of a project to determine whether Joshua Tree National Park will lose its namesake plants to global warming within the next century -- a problem that park officials have been grappling with.

Previous studies painted a dire picture about the Joshua trees' future. But scientist Cameron Barrows found the park's plants are better adapted to handle drought and are less likely to give up so easily; he expects them to be reproducing in the park 100 years from now.