SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
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INTRODUCTORY

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
Photos courtesy of Leslie McLachlan, Utah State University Forestry Extension.

AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION:
Scher, Janette S. 2002. Juniperus scopulorum. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [].

FEIS ABBREVIATION:
JUNSCO

SYNONYMS:
none

NRCS PLANT CODE [121]:
JUSC2

COMMON NAMES:
Rocky Mountain juniper
mountain red cedar
Rocky Mountain cedar

TAXONOMY:
The currently accepted scientific name of Rocky Mountain juniper is Juniperus scopulorum Sarg. (Cupressaceae) [27,53,62,67,74,78,81,113].

Rocky Mountain juniper hybridizes with alligator juniper (J. deppeana) [55,65], creeping juniper (J. horizontalis) [1,41,46], oneseed juniper (J. monosperma) [55], Utah juniper (J. osteosperma), and eastern redcedar (J. virginiana) [40,41,46]. Relictual hybridization with eastern redcedar is documented in Texas [46]. There are numerous horticultural and ornamental varieties [55,65,90].

LIFE FORM:
Tree

FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS:
No special status

OTHER STATUS:
No entry


DISTRIBUTION AND OCCURRENCE

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION:
Rocky Mountain juniper occurs throughout the drier mountains and foothills of British Columbia and Alberta; south through the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains to Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas; and north across eastern Colorado, western Nebraska and North Dakota, Montana, and into Saskatchewan. It is also found on Vancouver and other Puget Sound islands, as well as the surrounding mainland [65,78,121].

Distribution of some hybrids is: Juniperus scopulorum x J. virginiana in Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota [40,41,46]; J. scopulorum x J. horizontalis in Montana, North Dakota, and Alberta [1,41,46]; J. scopulorum x J. deppeana across central and north-central New Mexico, as well as in Walnut Canyon east of Flagstaff, Arizona [55,65]; J. scopulorum x J. osteosperma from Walnut Canyon north into Utah and east to Mesa Verde [55]. Distribution of Rocky Mountain juniper can also be accessed at The Plants Database.

ECOSYSTEMS [48]:
FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood
FRES20 Douglas-fir
FRES21 Ponderosa pine
FRES23 Fir-spruce
FRES25 Larch
FRES26 Lodgepole pine
FRES29 Sagebrush
FRES30 Desert shrub
FRES32 Texas savanna
FRES33 Southwestern shrubsteppe
FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub
FRES35 Pinyon-juniper
FRES36 Mountain grasslands
FRES38 Plains grasslands
FRES39 Prairie
FRES40 Desert grasslands

STATES:
AZ CO ID MT NE
NV NM ND OK OR
SD TX UT WA WY
AB BC SK

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS [17]:
1 Northern Pacific Border
2 Cascade Mountains
5 Columbia Plateau
6 Upper Basin and Range
7 Lower Basin and Range
8 Northern Rocky Mountains
9 Middle Rocky Mountains
10 Wyoming Basin
11 Southern Rocky Mountains
12 Colorado Plateau
13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont
14 Great Plains
15 Black Hills Uplift
16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands

KUCHLER [76] PLANT ASSOCIATIONS:
K010 Ponderosa shrub forest
K011 Western ponderosa forest
K012 Douglas-fir forest
K015 Western spruce-fir forest
K016 Eastern ponderosa forest
K017 Black Hills pine forest
K018 Pine-Douglas-fir forest
K019 Arizona pine forest
K021 Southwestern spruce-fir forest
K022 Great Basin pine forest
K023 Juniper-pinyon woodland
K024 Juniper steppe woodland
K031 Oak-juniper woodland
K032 Transition between K031 and K037
K037 Mountain-mahogany-oak scrub
K038 Great Basin sagebrush
K040 Saltbush-greasewood
K055 Sagebrush steppe
K056 Wheatgrass-needlegrass shrubsteppe
K063 Foothills prairie
K064 Grama-needlegrass-wheatgrass
K065 Grama-buffalo grass
K066 Wheatgrass-needlegrass
K067 Wheatgrass-bluestem-needlegrass
K068 Wheatgrass-grama-buffalo grass
K070 Sandsage-bluestem prairie
K098 Northern floodplain forest

SAF COVER TYPES [39]:
46 Eastern redcedar
206 Engelmann spruce-subalpine fir
208 Whitebark pine
209 Bristlecone pine
210 Interior Douglas-fir
212 Western larch
216 Blue spruce
217 Aspen
218 Lodgepole pine
219 Limber pine
220 Rocky Mountain juniper
221 Red alder
233 Oregon white oak
235 Cottonwood-willow
236 Bur oak
237 Interior ponderosa pine
238 Western juniper
239 Pinyon-juniper
240 Arizona cypress
241 Western live oak

SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES [108]:
104 Antelope bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
105 Antelope bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
107 Western juniper/big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass
109 Ponderosa pine shrubland
209 Montane shrubland
210 Bitterbrush
212 Blackbush
314 Big sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
315 Big sagebrush-Idaho fescue
316 Big sagebrush-rough fescue
317 Bitterbrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
318 Bitterbrush-Idaho fescue
319 Bitterbrush-rough fescue
320 Black sagebrush-bluebunch wheatgrass
321 Black sagebrush-Idaho fescue
322 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany-bluebunch wheatgrass
401 Basin big sagebrush
402 Mountain big sagebrush
403 Wyoming big sagebrush
404 Threetip sagebrush
405 Black sagebrush
406 Low sagebrush
408 Other sagebrush types
412 Juniper-pinyon woodland
413 Gambel oak
415 Curlleaf mountain-mahogany
416 True mountain-mahogany
417 Littleleaf mountain-mahogany
421 Chokecherry-serviceberry-rose
422 Riparian
501 Saltbush-greasewood
503 Arizona chaparral
504 Juniper-pinyon pine woodland
505 Grama-tobosa shrub
509 Transition between oak-juniper woodland and mahogany-oak association
607 Wheatgrass-needlegrass
608 Wheatgrass-grama-needlegrass
612 Sagebrush-grass
613 Fescue grassland
615 Wheatgrass-saltgrass-grama
724 Sideoats grama-New Mexico feathergrass-winterfat
731 Cross timbers-Oklahoma
732 Cross timbers-Texas (little bluestem-post oak)
735 Sideoats grama-sumac-juniper

HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES:
Rocky Mountain juniper is found over most of the range of pinyon (Pinus spp.)-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodlands [14,21,84]. It is a major tree species in the higher elevations of pinyon-juniper woodlands in Colorado, northern New Mexico, and Arizona, and locally in Nevada and Utah [43]. In pinyon-juniper woodlands, it is found in association with other juniper species such as alligator juniper, oneseed juniper, and Utah juniper, as well as Colorado pinyon (Pinus edulis), Mexican pinyon (P. cembroides), and singleleaf pinyon (P. monophylla) [71,80,95].

Rocky Mountain juniper communities in the northern Great Plains are often restricted to steep, north-facing slopes. Individuals may be scattered across other areas in mountains and canyons throughout the Rocky Mountain region, such as rocky outcrops, butte tops, draws, and floodplains [19,49,58,109]. Rocky Mountain juniper forms open woodland with sagebrush and grasses [122], and it is often found mixed with Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) [8,72,122], Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) [26,72], or ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) [26,72,109,122]. It is also found along waterways in pure stands or as understory in the cottonwood (Populus spp.)-willow (Salix spp.) habitat type [122]. It forms pure stands at middle and low elevations in the northern part of its range [90].

Classifications describing plant communities in which Rocky Mountain juniper is a dominant species are as follows:
Colorado [4,66,118]
Wyoming [2,3,5,6,57,115]
Idaho [20,70,115]
Montana [57,59,60,88,101]
North Dakota [57]
South Dakota [5,57,68,117]
Utah [128]


BOTANICAL AND ECOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum

Photo courtesy of Leslie McLachlan,  
Utah State University Forestry Extension 
 

GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Rocky Mountain juniper is a perennial, evergreen gymnosperm native to North America [73]. The species grows as a shrub or tree to 30 feet (10 m) or more and has thin, fibrous bark that usually shreds with age [27,78,121]. In the open, trees are stubby and broadly pyramidal with branches to ground level. In shaded areas, the trunk is less tapered and foliage arranges in "weeping sprays" [27,65,78]. Leaves are scalelike and 0.03-0.11 inch (1-3 mm) long or needlelike and 0.11-0.47 inch (3-12 mm) long [46,121].

Staminate cones are solitary at tips of branchlets, ovoid or mostly ellipsoid and 0.08-0.16 inch (2-4 mm) long [27,53,121]. Ovulate cones, or "berries", are solitary at the tips of branches and are fleshy with a resinous pulp. Berries are globose to subglobose, 0.16-0.31 inch (4-8 mm) in diameter [27,78,81,121]. Each contains 1-3 (up to 12) round seeds, 0.08-0.20 inch (2-5 mm) in diameter [27,53,65,82,121].

Rocky Mountain juniper is a long-lived species that often survives to be 250-300 years old or more [27,132]. A 36-foot (11 m) tall, 6.5-foot (2 m) diameter specimen near Logan, Utah was estimated at 3,000 years old [11,65,119,132].

Rocky Mountain juniper's morphological traits vary widely depending on climate, the presence of other species for hybridization, and other factors [28]. The preceding description provides characteristics of Rocky Mountain juniper relevant to fire ecology and is not meant to be used for identification. Detailed morphological descriptions and keys for identifying Rocky Mountain juniper are available [27,53].

RAUNKIAER [98] LIFE FORM:
Phanerophyte

REGENERATION PROCESSES:
Breeding system: Rocky Mountain juniper is mostly dioecious, though it is rarely monoecious [27,53,65].

Pollination: Pollen is distributed mainly by wind in the spring [90].

Seed production: Rocky Mountain juniper may begin bearing seeds at 10-20 years of age, but the optimum age for seed production is 50-200 years. Trees can bear seed nearly every year, but heavier crops occur every 2-5 years [65,90,121]. The species is usually a prolific seeder, especially when stunted or growing in the open. Seeds are small, at 18,000-42,000 seeds per pound (8,000-19,000 seeds/kg) [65].

Seed dispersal: Rocky Mountain juniper ovulate cones ("berries") remain on the tree through the winter, unless consumed by birds or other animals, then ripen and fall from the tree in the 2nd spring [11]. The berries are dispersed mainly by birds, whose digestive tracts pass the seeds quickly with little effect on germination capability [26,65,69,78,82,87]. Bohemian waxwings are the primary dispersers and have been reported to pass 900 seeds in just 5 hours [11]. Other avian consumers include robins, solitaires, turkey, jays, and other waxwings [26,65,69,78,82,87]. Bighorn sheep, foxes, chipmunks, and other small mammals also help disperse seeds. Gravity and run-off provide another method of dissemination for the heavy berries that would otherwise fall and remain close to the parent tree [65,69,82].

Seed banking: Rocky Mountain juniper seeds do not germinate during the 1st spring following maturity, but germinate freely during the 2nd spring. The seeds require an "after-ripening" period of 14-16 months, during which moisture and chemical changes occur within the seeds [11,65,78,132].

Germination: Germinative capacity varies from 32-58% with an average of 45% [65,132]. The seeds may germinate more readily if fleshy covering is dissolved by digestive tract of a bird or other animal [11].

Seedling establishment/growth: Rocky Mountain juniper seedlings are generally sparse, possibly due to delayed germination and an inability to establish readily on dry sites. Seedlings are most successful in rocky crevices or other pockets with trapped moisture [11,65]. In nurseries, seedlings perform best with partial shade for the 1st year [65].

Rocky Mountain juniper is a slow-growing species. The average height of 8-year-old trees is 1 foot (0.3 m) [11,65]. Saplings grow slowly and steadily until age 40, when they average 13-14 feet (3.9-4.3 m) tall. Then growth slows, and at age 80, the average height is 18 feet (5.5 m). Thereafter trees grow about 0.55 foot (17 cm) per decade and reach 30 feet (9 m) in about 300 years. Diameter growth is also slow at about 0.79 inch (2 cm) per decade until about 170 years of age. Growth then declines slowly to about 0.255 inch (0.6 cm) per decade after age 210, and 300-year-old trees average 17 inches 0.4 m) diameter at 1 foot (0.3 m) above ground [65,119,132].

Asexual regeneration: Rocky Mountain juniper does not reproduce naturally from sprouts, but may be cultivated from cuttings [65,90,127]. For more information, see Other Management Considerations.

SITE CHARACTERISTICS:
Topography: Rocky Mountain juniper is most abundant in dry, clay, rocky, or sandy slopes, canyons and wash areas as well as prairie hillsides, fields, pastures, and woodlands [34,53,65,72,78,81,121]. The species grows best along ravines, in canyon bottoms, and on moist, cool hillsides [65,72]. It is found on exposed bluffs, rocky points, and southern exposures throughout its range and is common on northern exposures in North Dakota and South Dakota [90].

Substrate: Rocky Mountain juniper prefers calcareous and somewhat alkaline soils and grows best on moist, deep soils [65]. The species is found on soils derived from basalt, limestone, sandstone, lavas, and shale. It also grows in many places where there is no developed soil [39,65,90].

Climate: Rocky Mountain juniper is generally found in dry, subhumid climates [90]. It also grows in moist, subhumid regions in the northern part of its range and in semiarid regions in the central and southern parts of its range [65]. The species can tolerate temperature extremes from -35 to 110 Fahrenheit (-37 to 43 C), but performs best where the average minimum temperature is greater than -10 to -5 Fahrenheit (-23 to -21 C). In its range, mean July temperatures range from 60 to 75 Fahrenheit (16 to 24 C) and mean January temperatures range from 15 to 40 Fahrenheit (-9 to 4 C) [65,90]. The average number of frost free days ranges from 120 in the northern Rockies to 175 at low elevations in Arizona and New Mexico [90]. Rocky Mountain juniper is adapted to dry climates and requires only about 10 inches (254 mm) of annual precipitation [11,65]. The average annual precipitation in its range varies from 12 inches (305 mm) in the Southwest, Great Basin, and eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado to 26 inches (660 mm) in the Puget Sound area [90].

Tolerance/affinity for harsh environments: Rocky Mountain juniper is considered hardy except for "burning" of foliage on trees exposed to northwest winds during winter in the northern Great Plains [50]. It can tolerate shade when young, but becomes intolerant later in life [11,26,65]. It is more drought tolerant than eastern redcedar and less so than other tree junipers in the west [90]. In fact, during the 1930s drought, Rocky Mountain juniper woodland maintained and expanded range in the western Dakotas [107].

Elevation: Rocky Mountain juniper is found near sea level in the Puget Sound to 9,000 feet (2,700 m) in the Southwest [65,90]. Elevation ranges for Rocky Mountain juniper in some states are:

Arizona 5,000-9,000 feet (1,500-2,700 m) [65,74]
Colorado 4,000-8,500 feet (1,200-2,600 m) [62,65]
Idaho 2,000-5,000 feet (600-1,500 m)
Montana 1,900-7,500 feet (600-2,300 m)
Nevada 3,500-7,400 feet (1,000-2,000 m) [65]
New Mexico 5,000-9,000 feet (1,500-2,800 m) [65,81]
Texas 2,000-6,000 feet (600-1,800 m) [113]
Utah 3,500-7,400 feet (1,100-2,300 m) [65]

SUCCESSIONAL STATUS:
Rocky Mountain juniper is usually found in long-term seral or near-climax vegetation [90]. It is often found as a climax species in juniper, pinyon-juniper, and pinyon associations in the Rocky Mountain region, and tends toward dominance at higher elevations. It is a minor component of climax or a seral species in Gambel oak and ponderosa pine associations [26,87]. The species may also be climax with Douglas-fir, or it may occur as a "pioneer" tree species in Douglas-fir succession [32]. In pinyon-juniper habitats, Rocky Mountain juniper is often the first to return after a disturbance, and it may invade sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) stands. In both habitats pinyon may follow and eventually replace it [51,52,65]. In the ponderosa pine climax series in Lolo National Forest, Montana, Rocky Mountain juniper and ponderosa pine are the only successfully reproducing conifers [29]. For postfire succession information, see Plant Response To Fire.

SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT:
Pistillate flowers of Rocky Mountain juniper become conspicuous during late summer, then open the following April, when staminate flowers shed pollen [53,65,121,132]. Female cones ("berries") ripen and attain full size in the 1st autumn after pollination [65,82,121,132]. Berries mature by November or December of the 2nd year after pollination, then remain on the tree until March or April of the following spring [27,46,65,82,121]. Some may remain on the tree for up to 3 years [90].

Additional Rocky Mountain juniper phenological data from an Arizona study are [64]:
Bark begins to slip: 4/8
Pollen shedding and female flowers open: 4/15
Approximate start of leader elongation: 4/20
First conspicuous formation of male flowers: 8/26
Bark begins to stick: 9/15
Leader elongation ceases: 10/19


FIRE ECOLOGY

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS:
Fire adaptations: Due to its thin bark and compact crown, Rocky Mountain juniper trees up to 3-4 feet (0.9-1.2 m) tall are easily killed by fire. Since the species grows slowly, trees are especially susceptible to fire for their first 20 years or more [26,44,57,87,89,114]. Large Rocky Mountain junipers, however, have survived at least 4-6 fires [26,44,87]. As trees mature, they develop thicker bark and a more open crown, allowing them to survive surface fires if the low, spreading branches do not carry fire to the crown [26,44,57,87]. A severe fire, however, may damage or kill such trees [44]. High volatile oil content, especially in the lower branches, also makes the trees more flammable [90,112].

Fire regimes: Fire return intervals vary for habitats where Rocky Mountain juniper occurs. For example, in pinyon-juniper habitat (including Rocky Mountain juniper) of the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico, the mean fire interval was 28 years with a range of 10-49 years, and fires that covered more than 25 acres (10 hectares) occurred at 15-20 year intervals in other areas of New Mexico. Research in the Walnut Canyon National Monument in Arizona reported surface fire intervals of 20-30 years for pinyon-juniper habitat where Rocky Mountain juniper occurs [94].

A fire history study in Mesa Verde National Park estimated the historic interval between stand-replacing fires for pinyon-juniper habitat, where Rocky Mountain juniper was a dominant, at approximately 400 years, and large fires may have not occurred for more than 600 years in some areas. In contrast, fire intervals for chaparral communities in the park were estimated at 100 years. It appears that, in this area, pinyon-juniper habitat that was burned severely was replaced by chaparral species, which are more fire tolerant. As a result, pinyon-juniper habitat is found mostly in the southern part of the park, where cliffs and sparsely vegetated slopes form a barrier to fire. Though this habitat type may support heavy fuel loads, horizontal fuel continuity remains low, so crown fires are usually confined to relatively small areas unless high winds and extreme drought occur [47].

Little information is available regarding fire regimes specific to Rocky Mountain juniper. However, fire regimes for plant communities and ecosystems in which Rocky Mountain juniper occurs are summarized below. For further information regarding fire regimes and fire ecology of communities and ecosystems where Rocky Mountain juniper is found, see the 'Fire Ecology and Adaptations' section of the FEIS species summary for the plant community or ecosystem dominant listed below.

Community or Ecosystem Dominant Species Fire Return Interval Range (years)
sagebrush steppe Artemisia tridentata/Pseudoroegneria spicata 20-70 [94]
basin big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. tridentata 12-43 [104]
mountain big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. vaseyana 15-40 [10,22,85]
Wyoming big sagebrush Artemisia tridentata var. wyomingensis 10-70 (40**) [124,131]
saltbush-greasewood Atriplex confertifolia-Sarcobatus vermiculatus < 35 to < 100 
desert grasslands Bouteloua eriopoda and/or Pleuraphis mutica 5-100 
plains grasslands Bouteloua spp. < 35 [94]
curlleaf mountain-mahogany* Cercocarpus ledifolius 13-1000 [13,106]
mountain-mahogany-Gambel oak scrub Cercocarpus ledifolius-Quercus gambelii < 35 to < 100 
western juniper Juniperus occidentalis 20-70 
Rocky Mountain juniper Juniperus scopulorum < 35 [94]
western larch Larix occidentalis 25-100 
blue spruce* Picea pungens 35-200 [9]
pinyon-juniper Pinus-Juniperus spp. < 35 [94]
whitebark pine* Pinus albicaulis 50-200 [9]
Rocky Mountain lodgepole pine* Pinus contorta var. latifolia 25-300+ [7,9,102]
Colorado pinyon Pinus edulis 10-49 [94]
interior ponderosa pine* Pinus ponderosa var. scopulorum 2-30 [9,15,79]
aspen-birch Populus tremuloides-Betula papyrifera 35-200 [33,126]
mountain grasslands Pseudoroegneria spicata 3-40 (10**) [7,9]
Rocky Mountain Douglas-fir* Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca 25-100 [9,10,12]
oak-juniper woodland (Southwest) Quercus-Juniperus spp. < 35 to < 200 [94]
Oregon white oak Quercus garryana < 35 [9]
bur oak Quercus macrocarpa < 10 [126]
oak savanna Quercus macrocarpa/Andropogon gerardii-Schizachyrium scoparium 2-14 [94,126]
elm-ash-cottonwood Ulmus-Fraxinus-Populus spp. < 35 to 200 [33,126]
*fire return interval varies widely; trends in variation are noted in the species summary
**mean

POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY [116]:
Tree without adventitious bud/root crown
Shrub without adventitious bud/root crown
Initial off-site colonizer (off-site, initial community)
Secondary colonizer (on-site or off-site seed sources)

FIRE EFFECTS

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT:
Rocky Mountain juniper is readily killed by ground fires or by low intensity surface burns [11,47]. Larger trees may survive low intensity fires due to their thicker bark and more open crown. See Fire Ecology or Adaptations for more information.

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT:
The effects of fire on Rocky Mountain juniper vary according to site characteristics. The species often occurs in dry, subhumid areas with sparse undergrowth; in these habitats where surface fuels are limited, fire damage is often minor [44].

PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE: 
Rocky Mountain juniper does not resprout after top-kill [57,112,114,130]. Postfire re-establishment is solely by seed [47], and animal transport of seeds is an important factor [94].Numerous seedlings often germinate after burning of old trees [114,130].

Fire is a major factor controlling the distribution of Rocky Mountain juniper [114,130]. Reduced fire frequency, along with climate change and introduction of grazing, accounts for the expansion of juniper woodlands into meadows, grasslands, sagebrush communities, and aspen groves that began in the late 1800s. Prior to this time, more frequent fires probably maintained low density in woodlands and often restricted junipers to rocky sites [86]. In general, the species grows in areas that do not burn frequently or intensely.

Frequent fires in the pinyon-juniper type can maintain a grassland setting, and the absence of fire will allow conversion to woodlands [54]. Wildfire eliminated Rocky Mountain juniper for 28 years in the Missouri, Judith, and Musselshell river breaks of central Montana [35]. In many areas where Rocky Mountain juniper grows, lack of heavy fuels may limit fire activity to surface fires of low intensity, allowing the species to persist [101]. It is often found in ponderosa pine forests where fire has been absent for long periods [93,101], and the resurgence of Rocky Mountain juniper in Idaho grasslands is due to fire cessation [75]. Severe fires in Douglas fir-Rocky Mountain juniper habitats in Montana appear limited to local areas where fire is carried into the crowns of widely-spaced trees [101].

After fire in pinyon-juniper habitat, junipers will usually invade the area first, followed by pinyon, which may eventually replace juniper on higher sites [69]. The following stages have been outlined for postfire succession in southwestern Colorado climax pinyon-juniper forest (including Rocky Mountain juniper): 1) skeleton forest and bare soil, 2) annual stage, 3) perennial grass-forb stage, 4) shrub stage, 5) shrub-open tree stage, 6) climax pinyon-juniper forest [38,94]. It takes approximately 300 years to reach climax [94].

Postfire succession in western Utah juniper woodland (including Rocky Mountain juniper) takes approximately 85-90 years: 1) skeleton forest and bare soil, 2) annual stage, 3) perennial grass-forb stage, 4)perennial grass-forb-shrub stage, 5) perennial grass-forb-shrub-young juniper stage, 6) shrub-juniper stage, 7) juniper woodland [38,94].

DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE:
The Research Project Summary Vegetation response to restoration treatments in ponderosa pine-Douglas-fir forests of western Montana provides information on prescribed fire use and postfire response of plant community species including Rocky Mountain juniper.

FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Fire has long been recognized as a control mechanism for juniper [44]. In the 1950s and 1960s some pinyon-juniper elimination operations were conducted by mechanical methods and slash was piled and burned. Some areas where these large fuel loads were burned remained free of vegetation 20 years later [94].

In areas where Rocky Mountain juniper is not desirable, young trees have been killed mechanically by scorching the crown and stems [44]. Tree-by-tree burning and wildfire both control Rocky Mountain juniper effectively in juniper and sagebrush-grass types in Wyoming [45]. In central Oregon, one juniper control technique is to conduct prescribed fires several years after harvesting trees, when herbaceous vegetation will be present to provide fuel to carry fire to juniper seedlings [94]. In general, control of Rocky Mountain juniper by fire has been more effective in the southern part of its range [90].

Thinning undergrowth in pinyon-juniper woodlands favors Rocky Mountain juniper by reducing the number and intensity of fires and reducing competition for moisture [89].


MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS

SPECIES: Juniperus scopulorum
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE:
Rocky Mountain juniper is important forage and cover to many wildlife species [121].

Palatability/nutritional value: Waxwings are the principal consumers of Rocky Mountain juniper cones ("berries"), but numerous other birds and mammals include the berries in their diets [121]. Big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), bitterbrush (Purshia spp.), and Rocky Mountain juniper combined have been reported to make up 66% of winter mule deer browse [16] and Rocky Mountain juniper is considered a major component of wintering mule deer diet in the Bridger Mountains of Montana [54]. Mule deer browse the foliage moderately in winter, spring, and fall, and lightly in the summer [77]. High levels of volatile oils in Rocky Mountain juniper may cause mule deer to select against the foliage in favor of other browse when available [30]. Other animals that use Rocky Mountain juniper berries, foliage, or stems for forage include white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain goats, ring-necked pheasant, grouse, and cattle [25,36,105,121]. Overall, it is rated good in energy value and fair in protein value [31].

Palatability of Rocky Mountain juniper is rated as follows [31]:

  CO MT ND UT WY
cattle poor poor ---- poor poor
domestic sheep poor poor poor fair fair
horses poor poor poor poor poor
antelope ---- ---- poor poor poor
elk poor poor ---- fair fair
mule deer poor poor fair fair good
white-tailed deer ---- ---- poor ---- good
small mammals good poor ---- good good
small nongame birds ---- poor fair good good
upland game birds ---- poor good good fair
waterfowl ---- ---- ---- poor poor

Relative food and cover values of Rocky Mountain juniper for white-tailed deer and mule deer in Wyoming are as follows [91,92]:

  summer forage winter forage hiding/escape cover thermal cover fawning cover
white-tailed deer fair good excellent excellent good
mule deer poor fair excellent excellent good

Cover value: The dense protective shelter of Rocky Mountain juniper is especially valuable in the winter [121].

Rocky Mountain juniper woodlands provide nesting habitat, migratory corridors, and winter food and cover for birds otherwise found only in forested areas and provide needed woody cover for birds on the edges of grasslands [111]. Rocky Mountain juniper is a favored nesting tree of chipping sparrows, robins, song sparrows, and mockingbirds [121], and is used for nesting by sharp-shinned hawks in Utah [96]. Juncos, myrtle warblers, sparrows and other birds roost in the dense foliage [121].

In the northern Great Plains Rocky Mountain juniper woodlands provide habitat for bushy-tailed woodrats, white-footed mice, deer mice, prairie voles, pocket mice, and eastern cottontail [103,110]. Big game use the Rocky Mountain juniper habitat type for forage and cover [56,60].

Cover value of Rocky Mountain juniper is rated as follows [31]:

  CO MT ND UT WY
pronghorn ---- ---- poor poor poor
elk fair good ---- fair good
mule deer good good good good good
white-tailed deer ---- ---- good ---- good
small mammals good fair fair good good
small nongame birds good fair good good good
upland game birds ---- fair fair good good
waterfowl ---- ---- ---- good good
antelope ---- ---- poor poor poor

VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES:

Rocky Mountain juniper is occasionally used for erosion control [121], and the tree has been used for revegetating mine spoils in Kansas [125]. Its dense branches, cold hardiness, drought tolerance, and relative freedom from pests make it a desirable choice for windbreaks and ornamental plantings [23,50,99]; it is the most widely planted conifer species for protective plantings in the Great Plains [123].

OTHER USES:
Rocky Mountain juniper's close-grained, durable, aromatic wood is used for furniture, interior paneling, fence posts, fuel, and novelties such as chests [11,65,121]. It is especially well-suited for fencing because the wood lasts a long time in contact with the ground. The wood is not used regularly for other products due to its small size and knotty, twisted trunks [11]. Northern Plains tribes preferred Rocky Mountain juniper branches for making bow staves [129].

Native Americans have used Rocky Mountain juniper seeds, "berries", and foliage for incense, teas, or salves to treat a variety of ailments including respiratory problems, backaches, vomiting and diarrhea, dandruff, high fever, arthritis and muscular aches, kidney and urinary ailments, and heart and circulatory problems. It has also been used to facilitate childbirth [24,37,63,120,121]. Juniper berries are also used to make gin [11].

OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS:
Propagation: Rocky Mountain juniper can be propagated from cuttings or from seed [18], though it can be difficult to grow from seed due to prolonged dormancy [99]. Trickle irrigation of wooded draws in coal-mine spoils of the Northern High Plains increased the survival rate of Rocky Mountain juniper by nearly 100% [18]. Wagner and others [127], Noble [90], and U.S.D.A. [121] discuss methods of artificial regeneration of Rocky Mountain juniper.

Pests: Rocky Mountain juniper is hearty and relatively disease resistant and insect tolerant [123]. However, several cedar foliage rusts are found on Rocky Mountain juniper. Cedar apple blight (Gymnosporangium juniperi-virginianae), for which Rocky Mountain juniper is the alternate host, does little harm [65,121]. Two similar rusts (G. betheli and G. nelsoni) cause galls on stems. The extent of damage in the wild is unknown, but these rusts can be destructive to nursery stock. Juniper mistletoes are also found on Rocky Mountain juniper in Arizona and New Mexico, but their effects are unknown [65]. Other diseases to which the tree is susceptible include Phomopsis blight (Phomopsis juniperovora), Cercospora blight (Cercospora sequoiae var. juniperi), and Kabatina tip blight (Kabatina juniperi) [65,100].

Rocky Mountain juniper is also vulnerable to attack by several insects, including the following: roundheaded borer (Callidium californicum) in Oregon and Washington, bark beetles (Phloeosinus scopulorum) in Washington and British Columbia, cedar twig beetles (Phloeosinus spp.) throughout the central and southern part of its range, cedar flathead borers (Chrysobothris spp.), and gall midges (Walshomyia insignis) [65]. Two species of spider mites and 2 species of juniper berry mites can also cause problems. Noble [90] discusses pests and their effects in more detail.

Control: Rocky Mountain juniper is difficult to kill without cutting or fire, though herbicides may work to kill individual trees [90]. A combination of tebuthiuron and picloram was somewhat effective at controlling Rocky Mountain juniper in pinyon-juniper woodlands of New Mexico; the effectiveness of both decreased as the size of trees increased [83]. A 2-way application of Tordon did not significantly affect Rocky Mountain juniper [45]. Refer to Fire Effects for information on using fire to control Rocky Mountain juniper.

Other: Rocky Mountain juniper is susceptible to erosion damage because the species establishes on exposed, erodable sites [65,111]. Use by animals as "rubbing posts" may also damage stems and roots, and may provide an entryway for pathogens. Also, range animals may browse, or "high-line", crown foliage and alter growth and vigor of trees [90]. In wet years and near springs, use by American bison and cattle should be monitored to avoid accelerating the erosion process by overuse [111].


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