Monday, December 19, 2011

Juniper Chomping in Action

Junipers are a native tree, but due to improper grazing and other habitat loss, they are spreading at an alarming rate: more than 100,000 acres per year.

Uncontrolled juniper spread leads to a monoculture in sagebrush habitat. Sage grouse avoid areas with trees, because trees provide a perch for raptors.

The Nature Conservancy and partners are leading an effort to chomp up junipers and turn them into mulch. The area is then replanted with native shrubs and grasses, restoring habitat for sage grouse and other native wildlife.

This video shows the juniper "chomper"--technically known as a masticator--in action.

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