After Catastrophic Fire: Research Associates Assess Desert Tortoise Habitat in the Mojave Desert

In the summer’s intense Mojave heat six people strained their eyes against dust and brilliant sun, seeking signs of vegetation in tortoise territory. Walking for miles across the desert, they carried sampling frames, GPS units, and vital liters of water, all to assess the devastating effects of wildfires on the habitat of the threatened Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii). Research Assistants for the Great Basin Institute, this team of explorers spent eight months in the wide open spaces of southern Lincoln County, Nevada, a region of mostly public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).