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California gives extra protections to Joshua trees, which are threatened by climate change

California lawmakers have voted to permanently protect the iconic western joshua tree, delivering a hard-won victory for environmentalists who have warned that the climate crisis has imperilled these fixtures of the high desert.

The Western Joshua Tree Conservation Act was passed Tuesday, as part of the state’s budget agreement. It prohibits the unpermitted killing or removal of the trees, requires the development of a conservation plan and creates a fund to protect the species. It appears to be the first California legislation focused on protecting a climate-threatened species.

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