Aspen Restoration - Header
Ed Moss

Where We Work - Section Title

Where we work

Aspen - where we work (images)

Aspen leaves

Monroe Mountain

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

A sign says "Entering the Pando Aspen Clone" in front of the clone.

Pando Clone

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

Blake McCord

Aspen - healthy groves

Healthy aspen groves
sprouts growing into trees

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 tops 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
Blake McCord

Study and monitor aspen regrowth

Overgrazing is only part of the story. Decades of fire suppression have allowed other species 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, prescribed burns, and fencing out grazing animals.

Aspen - weeding

Aspen - weeding
Blake McCord

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.

Aspen - fire

Aspen - fire
Jason Kling, U.S. Forest Service

Restore natural fire patterns

Fire is a tool we use to help restore aspen forests. By bringing back natural fire patterns to our national forests, we can clear out evergreen trees, making space for aspens to fill in.

Blake McCord

Native Plants - Pando dying

The Pando Clone

One of the largest living organisms known on Earth is struggling to stay alive. Why?

Aspen - Pando explained

A location map of the Pando Clone (south of I 40 in central Utah)

The Pando Clone (meaning “I spread”) is one of the largest known organisms in the world. It is made up of 40,000 stems, covers 106 acres in Fishlake National Forest, and weighs nearly 13 million pounds.

Much of the clone is in serious decline. New shoots normally replace old, dying trees. But here, 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 to pull invasive thistles and houndstongue and monitor the aspen’s new growth.

After many years of diligent work, the good news is that Pando is recovering. Read the story ›

Marc Coles-Ritchie

Aspen - Monroe Mountain Working Group

Monroe Mountain Working Group

A team of landowners, grazing 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 meets regularly 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 ›

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