Cacti and Other Iconic Desert Plants Threatened by Solar Development

a flowering mojave yucca in the foreground surrounded by solar panels
Mojave yucca grows near a solar facility in the Mojave Desert. (Steven Grodsky/UC Davis)

Native Desert Plants Important to Indigenous Cultures Especially Vulnerable 

By Kat Kerlin on July 20, 2020


"With their tough skins, pointy armor and legendary stamina, cacti are made to defend themselves from whatever nature throws at them. 

But large solar energy facilities are one threat that cacti weren’t built to withstand, according to a study by the University of California, Davis. 

The study, published today in the journal Nature Sustainability, chronicles the impacts of ground-mounted solar energy development in the Mojave Desert on native plants and their cultural significance to indigenous tribes in the region.

'We’re talking about iconic and threatened plants — cacti, especially, and Mojave yucca,' said co-leading author Steve Grodsky, an assistant research ecologist at UC Davis. 'These are the plants most people envision when they think about the desert, and they’re also the most negatively affected by solar energy development.'”

Read the full story at UC Davis News