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Ed Moss

Where We Work - Section Title

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 the Fishlake National Forest, is dying. Find out why ›

Marc Coles-Ritchie

Aspen - healthy groves

Healthy aspen groves
sprouts growing into trees

Aspen - clones

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

Clones reproduce by sending up new shoots, but the green tops (called leaders) are a favorite food of deer, elk, and cattle. Continued feasting on new sprouts prevents them 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 the results of various treatments, such as thinning of conifers, prescribed burns, and fencing out grazing animals.

Aspen - weeding

Aspen - weeding

Pull invasive plants

Invasive weeds, like non-native thistle and houndstongue, push out native plants and can 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 native bees, birds, and other wildlife.


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 much of 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 resident 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 (down from 8,000 in 2017)!

With each second-year houndstongue producing 300-675 seeds, digging up first-year plants and cutting seedheads from flowering second-year plants 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, sheep and cattle permittees, hunters, researchers, landowners, and the Trust 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 outcomes of aspen restoration activities. The Trust co-chairs the team, alongside the Utah Department of Agriculture. Read about what we've accomplished together ›

Forest Restoration Blog


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You have the opportunity to comment on how you think some of the most beautiful landscapes in Utah should be managed into the future.

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Aspen trees in a fenced portion of Pando, the world's largest aspen clone, are reaching for the sky. Learn about the effort.

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