The pledge, which helps conserve juniper by offering three grants for landowners and charities to put towards improving the plant’s natural habitats, was created in conjunction with Plantlife, another charity. Both charities are concerned about the threat faced by the juniper plant which could completely disappear in the next 50 years due to changing farming practices, grazing pressure from rabbits, deer and rodents and a fungus-like disease.
As the juniper plants can be either male or female, growing in groups rather than in isolation is vital otherwise no new seedlings will be produced. Juniper can grow up to 10 metres tall and live for up to 200 years, but are more usually seen as low shabby bushes. “Juniper has been steadily declining over the last few decades and without action now, it actually faces extinction across much of lowland England,” said Tim Wilkins from Plantlife.
If you want to geek out further on the subject (we recommend that you do)- here’s Tim speaking to BBC Radio 5’s live Morning Reports.
The Steyning Downland Scheme will use the grant from No.3 Gin to put fences around the few remaining juniper plants in the West Sussex area. It will also enable accurate mapping and tracking of juniper throughout the UK in order to promote growth in key areas.
Gin brands usually source their juniper from other European countries such as Italy and Bulgaria due to greater yields and availability however, No.3 Gin are keen to promote home grown British juniper. Mike Mackenzie, brand manager at the company, said: “Juniper is very much at the heart of No.3, so it’s appropriate that we support Plantlife’s activities in these ways. Their work in this area of conservation is second to none and we’re hopeful of healthy days ahead for West Sussex’s juniper.”
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