Aspen forest trends in the Interior West
Aspen death in parts of the Interior West, including Colorado and Utah, has been alarming in recent years. While loss of aspen in localized areas is a serious concern, a Rocky Mountain Research Station monitoring project has found that data do not indicate that the tree is in a broad population crisis. In fact, current research is investigating how bark beetles might actually enhance the iconic trees overall presence and survival. Aspen is valued for wildlife habitat, wood product potential and it has golden leaves that in the autumn draw masses of forest visitors to enjoy their scenic beauty. The Rocky Mountain Research Station's Inventory and Monitoring and Forest and Woodland Ecosystems Science Programs contribute to Sudden Aspen Decline investigations by the Forest Service and collaborators.