Juniper and savin juniper forests

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Juniper and savin juniper forests

Campos de Hernán Pelea

We cannot talk about the high mountains, the summits, rocky slopes and ridges, without mentioning the most emblematic species that live there: the savin juniper (Juniperus sabina) and common junipers (Juniperus comunnis hemisphaerica), veritable hallmarks of our mountains that would deserve the name of The Ancient Ones of the Summits. These are the plants that cover the summits in a dark green mantle and afford shelter to an infinite number of animals.

When you enter the fields of the Campos de Hernán Pelea the landscape opens up and you will discover the plants that typically cover a large portion of the terrain.

Savin junipers colonise rocky soils and that is why you can find them on the escarpments, ridges and the highest part of the summits. Common juniper, however, prefer more developed soil, although the two bushes are often found together. These are very long-lived species than can be up to 1000 years old. They are low bushes, rarely more than one metre tall, but a single specimen can cover more than 20 square metres of ground.

They are monospecific plant formations, i.e. formations with only one dominant species, accompanied only by the odd Coriscan pine (Pinus nigra salzmannii), barberries (Berberis vulgaris australis) and a few maples (Acer granatense) and common whitebeams (Sobus aria) on the slopes. Savin junipers are the kings of the summits, competing with clusters of broom and wild oats.

The two species of juniper were brought to our mountains with the Quaternary glaciations. Today, the climate is so dry that they only survive on the cold mountain summits. Regenerating them is difficult and rarely undertaken, and moreover they are used as fodder by herbivores, so their outlook is uncertain.



Take the track from Don Domingo and when you enter the Campos de Hernán Perea, take a track that runs along the dry riverbed of Juan Fría, where you will see the Corsican pine known as the Pino Galapán. Go past it and past the La Pinadilla farmhouse and you’ll come to a splendid cluster of savin junipers.

X coordinates: UTM: 30 S WH 26 04 526111
Y coordinates: UTM: 30 S WH 26 04 4204213
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