OSU publishes new report about juniper increase in the west

January 31, 2006

BURNS – Covering more than 9 million acres in central and eastern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho and northwestern Nevada, juniper trees have come to dominate much the intermountain landscape of the western United States. How did this happen, what are the ecological effects and what do we do about it?

Researchers with the Oregon State University Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have jointly published a new bulletin, "Biology, Ecology, and Management of Western Juniper" (TB 152) to answer some of these questions.

"Western juniper has rapidly expanded into neighboring plant communities over the past 130 years," explained Rick Miller, co-author of the report and a range ecologist at OSU's Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns. "It has caused increased soil erosion, reduced forage production, altered wildlife habitat, changed plant communities and their structure and biodiversity."

"Biology, Ecology, and Management of Western Juniper" covers the history, biology, ecology, and management of western juniper.

"We hope to dispel some of the myths, identify knowledge gaps, sort out some of the issues related to juniper woodland expansion and increase the overall understanding of western juniper place and function in the northern Great Basin," explained Miller.

The publication includes sections on:

  • distribution and history of juniper expansion;
  • life history, biology and ecology of western juniper;
  • juniper-related hydrology issues; and
  • ecological restoration and management.

Authors include OSU's Rick Miller, John Bates, USDA Range Scientist, Tony Svejcar, USDA-ARS range scientist, Fred Pierson, USDA range hydrologist and Lee Eddleman, retired range ecologist with the Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management at OSU.

The 80-page photo-illustrated bulletin is available from OSU Extension and Experiment Station Communications. To order "Biology, Ecology, and Management of Western Juniper" (TB 152), send a request to: Publication Orders, Extension and Station Communications, OSU, 422 Kerr Administration, Corvallis, OR 97331-2119. There is no charge for the bulletin, but please enclose a $3 shipping and handling fee with your request (check or money order payable to OSU). For orders of 6 or more, please call 1-800-561-6719 for more information about shipping fees.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Rick Miller