Saguaro, Ponderosa and regional climate

Intriguing paper by Pierson and colleagues, looking at a big demographic survey of the great saguaro cactus:

Averaged across the region, saguaro regeneration rates were highest from 1780 to 1860, coincident with wet conditions and high Pinus ponderosa recruitment in the highlands. Milder and wetter winters and protection from livestock grazing likely promoted late 20th century regeneration surges at some sites. Predictions of saguaro population dynamics in the 21st century likely will be confounded by the saguaro’s episodic and asynchronous regeneration, continued urbanization, ongoing grass invasions and associated wildfires, and changing climate.