Miley Cyrus criticised for climbing on protected Joshua tree in ‘damaging’ Instagram behaviour

Miley Cyrus has been heavily criticised for climbing on a protected Joshua tree for a photo shoot, with some describing her behaviour as "damaging".

On Tuesday, the 26-year-old shared three photos on Instagram from a recent shoot with photographer and videographer Alice Moitié.

In two of the pictures, Cyrus is sitting on a Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), dressed in a pink and purple floral bodysuit.

While some, including model Gigi Hadid, left praiseworthy comments underneath the pictures - "Wow I love this so much," Hadid wrote - others warned Cyrus of the damage she could be causing by posing on the fragile plant.

"I love you, but get off the damn yucca," one fan wrote on Instagram. "They can't sustain heavy weight, and your platform tells people it's ok to get on trees."

An Instagram account called @joshuatreehatesyou left a lengthy comment explaining the fragility of the Joshua tree.

"The root system of a Joshua tree is incredibly shallow," they wrote.

"Repeated abuse by tourists is slowly causing their demise, bringing them closer to being added to the endangered list."

They continued, saying that actions such as "hanging, climbing, sitting, swinging, standing, leaning, touching, hugging" and more can gravely harm the succulent.

"Please be mindful and refrain from contributing to their extinction - you are NOT the ONLY person thinking it may be a 'good idea' to use a Joshua tree as an Instagram photo prop!" they said.

The Instagram user implored Cyrus to delete the pictures, so other tourists don't copy her "damaging behaviour".

Joshua trees are succulents that grow in the desert.

They're most commonly found in the Mojave Desert in the south west of the US, the National Wildlife Federation states.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service is currently in the process of considering the Joshua tree for inclusion in the Endangered Species Act, due to its vulnerability to climate change.

Geary Hund, executive director for the Mojave Desert Land Trust, has released a statement with regards to Cyrus' actions.

"We ask that Miley Cyrus consider her status as a public figure and remove this photo from her social media accounts in order to educate others and to prevent potential damage to Joshua trees," he wrote.

Cyrus is yet to respond to the criticism she's received over the pictures.

The Independent has contacted Cyrus' agent for comment.