Juniper Propagation, Planting and Monitoring
Juniper conservation project
Native Species conservation is an important part of the conservation role of zoos, creating strong partnerships with local NGOs, developing skills and building conservation reputation. As part of Chester Zoo’s Native Species Programme the zoo became involved in Juniper conservation work in North Wales in 2005. Common Juniper is locally threatened in the UK and is a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) Priority Species. Many populations have dwindled to such an extent that they are functionally extinct. The project focuses on the Prestatyn Hillside Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), where surveys in the 1990s showed existing Junipers were old and failing to regenerate. The conservation strategy consists of habitat management to control scrub, alongside a programme of reinforcement to increase potential for seed production – both of these are essential for the species’ long-term survival on this site. As key project partners, Chester Zoo staff have undertaken the Juniper propagation work, guided planting out and assisted with monitoring. The project has successfully re-established 23 new plants; in 2012 some young plants have produced fruit. Habitat management has enabled more accurate recording of the mature plants, increased their chances of survival and reproduction. The project is on-going; continued monitoring is planned until new plants have established from seed and there is a long-term commitment to habitat management.
The success of the project in terms of propagation of cuttings and population reinforcement has led to Chester Zoo being asked to perform similar work with Juniper elsewhere in North Wales.
COMMENDATION received in BIAZA Awards 2012 for Best Field Conservation Project