Thuriferous juniper (Juniperus thurifera) in Morocco

The degradation

There are three kind of degradations on thuriferous junipers stands in Morocco: degradation by axe, degradation by fire and degradation by cattle.

The thuriferous juniper and the axe:
The life of inhabitants of the high mountain is closer linked to timber of thuriferous juniper, that's why the influence of the strong demography in villages is considerable on the available wood stock. Distances to cover to gather wood become each year, more important. All trees are mutilated and only their extraordinary vitality allows them to survive.

Juniperus thuriferaJuniperus thurifera
(Photograph V. Bertaudière)

The thuriferous juniper and the fire:
Although fires are relatively rare in these very open environment, it is frequent to meet largely chared trees. Indeed, the low temperatures to these altitudes get shepherds to light small fires at the foot of trees.
When the shepherd left, the trunk of the juniper continues to consume slowly.


Juniperus thuriferaJuniperus thurifera
(Photograph N. Montès)

The thuriferous juniper and goats:
Because of lack of a sufficient herbaceous cover, it is the foliage of the thuriferous that's used as forage for cattle. When trees are young, the browsing gives them a characteristic form (see photo gallery). If trees are higher, goats don't hesitate to climb on branches to reach the crown, unless the shepherd and its billhook facilitate them the task.


Juniperus thurifera
(Photograph V. Bertaudière)