Junior Juniper

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Monday 7 February 2011 18:05

Juniper is struggling in the south east of England. Many populations are aging without any new seedlings developing. There are a number of reasons why this is not happening and these include: changes in management, increased grazing pressure from rabbits and loss of seed fertility caused by several host invertebrate species. 

About three years ago at Levin Down, the Reserves Officer Mark Monk-Terry fenced off an area from rabbits to allow regeneration to occur in the compartment which contains about two thirds of all the Juniper on the site. It has also been ungrazed by livestock over this time. Bramble and woody plants are beginning to appear and so grazing is now required to stop this becoming a problem. A search for any seedlings was conducted on Thursday (I'm gutted that I was off sick and missed the moment) and Reuben Beckett (Assistant Reserves Officer) found these two seedlings almost immediately. They were only a few centimetres tall and only about 30 cm apart and were close to a Juniper bush at the western edge of the colony. Thanks to Reuben Beckett for the photographs. A further hour and a half's searching did not yield  anymore seedlings but this does not matter, we now know that Juniper regeneration can still occur on this site.  This is a great result and I am going to get out there this week and have a look at the micro-habitat and see what we can learn from this. We will also carry out a seed fertility test from the adjacent bush to see if that was a significant factor.

1 Response to "Junior Juniper"

John Says:

Now they are rare Graeme!!

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