Charred Joshua Tree Forest ,On August 16, 2020, lightning struck caused a wildfire at Cima Dome in the Mojave Desert and burned an estimated 1.3 million Joshua trees, leaving behind a graveyard of iconic trees.
“They take hundreds of years to get to the size they are,” Bree Montoro, project manager for the Nevada Conservation Corps, says in the video. “Seeing them burned is beautiful and devastating.”
Drew Kaiser, a botanist at the Mojave National Preserve, watched the habitat burn in real time and thought, “What am I going to do? It is one of the densest and largest Joshua tree forests in the world.”
He and others eventually found the answer in a volunteer effort that planned to plant a total of 4,000 Joshua trees over four years to bring the forest back.
“I really just want to be able to look the younger generation in the eye 50 years from now and tell them I tried,” Montoro says in the video.
Although 90 percent of Joshua trees will die after a fire, in rare cases new growth sprouts from the roots up the old trunk. Watch this video to learn more about Montoro and Kaiser’s efforts.
This video originally appeared on Knowable Magazine, an independent journalistic venture from Annual Reviews. You can see the original here.