Current Ecological Stressors

Solar development would not be the only stress on California desert ecosystems; the region has seen significant stresses from human activity, both historic and current. Historically, the California desert was exploited by early settlers, miners, and cattlemen and served as a major trade and migration route.1 Today it is surrounded by some of the most populous counties in California whose residents place increasing demands on its natural resources.

The following provides an overview of the major current stressors, including urban and suburban development, grazing and agriculture, water demand, linear corridors, OHV recreation, invasive species, military operations, and mining.

1 P. Rowlands, H. Johnson, E. Ritter, and A. Endo, “The Mojave Desert,” in Reference Handbook on the Deserts of North America, ed. Gordon L. Bender, (Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982), 103-162.