Trees need aid of disparate groups
Collaboration. It’s a word all too seldom associated with land-use and environmental issues. But discussion and compromise are necessary if the diverse, and often divergent, interests of ranchers, government, conservationists and the public are to be protected.
The cows and sheep that provide a livelihood for ranchers, and elk, a favorite target of hunters, now share groves of quaking aspens, trees that are much-beloved by Utahns. But can the animals and “quakies” co-exist without the beasts destroying the vegetation that sustains them? Fortunately, a group of people who are often on opposite sides of such issues is working together to come up with an answer.
A 175,000-acre mountain in Fishlake National Forest will become a laboratory for experiments in how aspen groves can provide feed for the three species and remain growing, replenishing organisms. If something doesn’t change, the groves on Monroe Mountain will be replaced by stands of evergreens or sagebrush. The animals that share are eating the new sprouts and young trees before they get a chance to develop.
Realizing their livestock and prey might be getting too much of a good thing, representatives of ranching and hunting interests rightly agreed to meet with the U.S. Forest Service, the Grand Canyon Trust and Utah Environmental Congress to figure out what to do.he space are eating the new sprouts and young trees before they get a chance to develop. Click here for the entire Salt Lake Tribune editorial.