Landowners urged to stop juniper disappearing off the map in Scotland

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Landowners and managers across Scotland are urged to take action to save juniper from going extinct.

The call comes as Forestry Commission Scotland and Plantlife Scotland promote action to reverse the decline of this UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.

Although Scotland is home to around 80% of the UK’s surviving juniper stock, only a third of the sites in Scotland have strong and secure populations. Restoring juniper in woodlands and at woodland edges could make all the difference to juniper’s chances of survival in Scotland, and ultimately in the UK as a whole.

Grants are available from the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) to help landowners conserve and regenerate small populations of juniper and improve its long-term survival in sites across the country. 

Plantlife’s Conservation Manager Deborah Long said:

“Juniper is badly affected by browsing and grazing animals, land clearance, land use change and uncontrolled muirburn – and old bushes aren’t producing much viable seed. It’s clear that juniper is not going to stage a comeback without our help – and thankfully landowners can help solve these problems. 

“Scotland’s juniper population is vital to the survival of juniper in the UK – and with concerted action we can help to revive the species and make it a common and widespread feature in our landscapes.”

The grant support under SRDP’s Rural Development Contracts is available for projects that
• enhance juniper populations in and around new and existing native woods
• add juniper to non-native and mixed planted woods
• regenerate and expand small remnant populations
• stimulate supply of planting material by registering and managing self-seeded juniper stands.

Plantlife and the Forestry Commission in Scotland have surveyed the current status of juniper and are already working to conserve and regenerate existing juniper scrub areas. This includes assisting natural regeneration by controlling grazing and browsing, planting juniper in a bid to boost flagging or recently eliminated populations and planting juniper within existing woodlands to help broaden biodiversity. 

Plantlife’s Conservation Officers are visiting sites across Scotland where existing juniper populations are in need of help. If you own or manage a site with woodland juniper and where you would like advice on managing for juniper, contact Davie Black at Plantlife Scotland on 01786 469778 or email You can also download a management leaflet from (NB LUKE we would need a link from the home page)

Gordon Patterson, the Commission’s Biodiversity Policy Advisor, said:

“Juniper is one of the Commission’s six key woodland species identified for priority action and we are already doing a lot of work on the national forest estate. As well as identifying and managing juniper populations we are collecting seed to set up a future supply of young plants so that we can restore populations that are at risk. We are now looking to widen out the project and encourage other land owners to manage their juniper.”

Additional technical guidance is available on accessing grant support from SRDP Regional Priorities for juniper in woodlands, woodland edge and open upland and coastal habitats.  The Commission’s Conservancy teams around the country are also available to give advice on preparing forest plans and grant applications. 

To speak to a case officer and get more advice and information on plans and grants call your local Forestry Commission Scotland conservancy office ( )

NOTES to Editors
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate, managing, protecting and enhancing the 660,000 hectare national forest estate in ways that deliver benefits to Scotland’s people, communities, biodiversity and economy. More information: .The Commission is already safeguarding and enhancing existing juniper stands at 8 sites on the national forest estate.

2) Plantlife Scotland is the organisation speaking up for Scotland’s wild plants. We work hard to protect wild plants on the ground and to build understanding of the vital role they play in everyone’s lives.  Plantlife Scotland carries out practical conservation work across Scotland, manages Munsary Peatlands nature reserve in Caithness, influences policy and legislation, runs events and activities that connect people with their local wild plants and works with others to promote the conservation of wild plants for the benefit of all. More information: .

3) Plantlife has been working on the conservation of juniper across Scotland and in lowland England and a survey has been carried out in Scotland and northern England. A newly updated Plantlife leaflet ‘Managing uplands for juniper’ is available to download from the Plantlife website or by phoning Plantlife Scotland on 01786 479382.

4) Forestry Commission Scotland has published a juniper Species Action Note (available online) that sets out juniper conservation needs and priorities in and around woodlands and forests. It also describes current FCS action for the species.

5) Juniper grows in a wide range of habitats and Scotland now supports approximately 80% of the UK population. Two of the three UK native sub-species grow in Scotland - the upright type which is a shrub or small tree (Juniperus communis ssp. communis), and the prostrate or dwarf type (Juniperus communis ssp. nana).

6) Juniper will form an important component of native woodland planting in The Great Trossachs Forest project, which aims to establish a mosaic of native woodland and open habitats from Glen Finglas to Loch Lomond. The Commission aims to establish 15,000 juniper plants in total, of which 8,000 will be planted by 2011.


1) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a’ riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde.

2) Airson agallamhan anns a’ Ghàidhlig, cuiribh fios gu Oifigear Leasachaidh Gàidhlig a’ Choimisean, Louise Nicilleathain air 01463 725 038