Vertical Mulch: The collection and artistic arrangement of dead and downed plant matter into fake bushes. This process is capable of producing woody perennial growth in as little as two years for the following reasons:
1) It creates a visual barrier. The vast majority of people who ride off-highway vehicles illegally on federal lands do so without knowing they are on illegal routes. By blending vertical mulch with the surrounding landscape people will not confuse these routes for those designated by land use agencies. This stops further harm from coming to these areas.
2) It helps to simulate the growing cycle of the desert. The desert grows primarily beneath nurse plants—large plants who have enough mass to produce a microclimate. Beneath these plants the air is slightly cooler and the sun is less direct, so water will not evaporate as fast. These plants also work as wind blocks, so seeds have a chance to take root, rather than being blown willy-nilly. By placing our fake bushes on the illegal routes, we create faux apex species. Despite not being living plants, they perform most all of the functions of actual nurse plants. We even take seed from other nurse plant seed banks and sow it around our bushes. By mimicking the natural growth patterns of the desert, we create projects that do not require upkeep.
Below are before and after photos from the 2007-08 Jawbone crew. Look closely and be amazed.