Human Impact Graphics for DTPC

complex interactions and cumulative effects

Many human activities throughout the range of the desert tortoise degrade, destroy, and fragment habitat within fragile desert ecosystems. Several of these activities may also exacerbate natural impacts, such as disease and predation, which affect desert tortoise populations. The threats described on this website have complex interactions and cumulative effects, making desert tortoise conservation a serious challenge. The interactions among threats are reflected in the structure of this site and presented visually, as related impacts are highlighted when one threat is selected.

For example, on the predators page, you will see urbanization highlighted as a related cause. Clicking on the urbanization icon will take you to the urbanization page, with information about how predators thriving off of resources from urban areas prey heavily on tortoises in the adjacent desert. You can also explore the relationship between predators and agriculture, or learn about how stressors, such as reduced food availability due to grazing, can increase the vulnerability of tortoises to disease.

Through exploration of the connected elements, we hope you will better understand the interrelations and cumulative effects of the many human impacts to the desert and desert tortoise.

Your Role

Understanding the threats facing the desert and desert tortoise is important, but it is also very important to understand how we can reduce our impacts and participate in desert conservation. Some of the threat pages feature What You Can Do sections that provide tips for minimizing a particular impact, while the YOU button takes you to a page with some general guidelines and additional resources. We invite you to explore, learn, and make a positive difference in the desert.