A new study released by UCI reveals that climate change is dramatically altering the number of plants populating our local deserts and mountains.

After studying nearly 5,000 square miles surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park via satellite, the research team found that between 1984 and 2017, vegetation cover in desert ecosystems have decreased by about 35 percent, and mountains seeing a 13 percent vegetation decline.

Researchers blame the decline on considerable year-to-year variability in rainfall in conjunction with climbing temperatures associated with anthropogenic climate change.

The researchers had hoped that desert plants would stand a better chance against climate change, as they come equipped with drought-tolerant features. But, the study found that the plants exist right on the edge of what’s habitable, so any environmental shift toward greater extremes is likely to be detrimental.

To read more from the UCI study, click here.

ICNV Staff