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Ancient Juniper tress illegally cut down at National Monument in New Mexico

Several dozen ancient alligator juniper trees have been illegally cut down at El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico and the National Park Service is looking for the perpetrator.

Alligator junipers are known for their distinctive furrowed bark and slow growth. After pollination, a seed can take up to 18 months to mature and young trees grow at a rate of roughly 0.6 inch (1.5 cm) each decade, slowing as they age.

According to officials, the trees that were cut down were potentially hundreds of years old.


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