One of northern and central Arizona’s most iconic tree species is in trouble. The shaggy bark juniper, known for its distinctive outer layers that appear to be shedding, has been dying off in significant numbers in recent years.
The phenomenon was first documented in 2018. Since then, biologists estimate close to 100,000 acres of the conifers have perished between the communities of Paulden and Ash Fork, as well as north of Williams. Thirty percent of junipers in some areas have been wiped out. Others have turned a sickly brown.