Aspen Restoration - Header
Ed Moss

Header - where we work

Where we work

Aspen - where we work (images)

Monroe Mountain, Utah

Monroe Mountain

A sky-island in south-central Utah with vast stands of aspen. Learn about our restoration team ›

Pando Clone

Pando Clone

The world’s largest aspen clone, located in Fishlake National Forest, is dying. Find out why ›

Marc Coles-Ritchie

Aspen - healthy groves

Healthy aspen groves
continued new sprouts

Aspen - clones

Aspen stands are made up of genetically identical trees that share a root system.

Clones reproduce by sending up new shoots, but the green tips are a favorite food of deer, elk, and cattle. Continued feasting on new sprouts prevents saplings from growing into full sized trees and results in the slow decline of clones. We advocate for less grazing in Utah’s national forests to give aspen the chance to thrive.

Volunteer - What We Do Section Title

What We Do

Aspen - study and monitor regrowth

Aspen - study and monitor regrowth

Study and monitor aspen regrowth

Overgrazing is only part of the story. Decades of fire suppression have allowed conifers like pines, spruce, and fir, to shade out and outcompete sun-loving aspen. We’re working with partners and the Forest Service to study how various treatments, like thinning of conifers, prescribed burns, and fencing out grazing animals, encourage regrowth.

Aspen - weeding

Aspen - weeding

Pull invasive plants

Invasive weeds, like thistle and houndstongue, push out native plants and form monocultures across our forest floors. We pull weeds in fenced reference areas year after year to shift the balance of understories toward native plants, which support an incredible diversity of insects, birds, and animals.


Native Plants - Pando dying

Weeding with a purpose

The largest living organism known on Earth is struggling to stay alive. Why?

Aspen - Pando explained

The Pando Clone (meaning “I spread”) is the largest known organism in the world. It is made up of 40,000 stems, covers 106 acres in Fishlake National Forest, and weighs nearly 13 million pounds. But the clone is in serious decline. New shoots normally replace old, dying trees, but grazing animals' appetites are outpacing the rate of new growth. We work in plots within the clone where deer and cattle are fenced out, giving young aspen a chance to grow into mature trees. We return to these areas each year to pull invasive thistles and houndstongue and monitor the aspen’s new growth. 

In 2018, we pulled 3,770 invasive houndstongue plants from the Pando Clone.

With each houndstongue producing 300-675 seeds, digging up the plants and cutting seedheads is essential to freeing up space for aspen sprouts and other native plants to grow.

Marc Coles-Ritchie

Aspen - Monroe Mountain Working Group

Monroe Mountain Working Group

A team of landowners, county commissioners, ranchers, hunters, academics, and conservationists is working to bring back aspen on Monroe Mountain. 

Aspen - Monroe Mountain Working Group explained

With the shared goal of restoring aspen across the mountain, a group of nearly 20 stakeholders has been meeting regularly since 2011 to develop restoration recommendations and monitor aspen regrowth. The Trust co-chairs the team, alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read about what we've accomplished together ›

Forest Restoration Blog


Who needs a red carpet when you've got volunteer trips for hikers, animal-lovers, and more?

Read More

Ever wonder how a prescribed fire works?

Read More

We've been working to restore millions of acres of forest lands. Here's why.

Read More
Copyright © 2018 Grand Canyon Trust