Cactus Habitat: Mojave Desert
The smallest of the four US deserts, the Mojave provides a high-elevation habitat for cacti that is distinct from the nearby Sonoran Desert. Much less lush than the Sonoran Desert in Arizona, the Mojave experiences only one rainy period per year (during the winter). Cacti here are smaller and more dispersed as they compete for limited available moisture. The ability of cacti to grow new shallow roots quickly (within hours) in response to rainfall helps them absorb as much water as possible in this harsh environment.
Fortunately this is one of the best-protected ecological regions in the US, but threats still exist. Of particular concern in the Mojave Desert are invasive species, habitat loss from development, demand for landfill space in the region, livestock grazing and, ironically, large solar energy facilities.