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USNPS searching for those who cut down ancient juniper trees at El Malpais NMon

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Several dozen ancient alligator juniper trees have been illegally cut down at El Malpais National Monument in western New Mexico and authorities with the National Park Service are trying to find out who’s responsible.

Known for their unique furrowed bark, alligator junipers grow very slowly. A seed can take up to 18 months to mature after pollination and the growth rate for young trees is about 0.6 inches (1.5 centimeters) per decade, slowing as they get older.

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