You are here: Home / Research Topics / Research Highlights / Individual Highlight

Research Highlights

Individual Highlight

Test-driving a Roadmap for Quaking Aspen Restoration

Photo of Members of the Monroe Mountain Working Group spend time in the field collecting data and examining aspen in a wide range of conditions. By working together, members develop the trust needed to find consensus when dealing with complex issues.
Members of the Monroe Mountain Working Group spend time in the field collecting data and examining aspen in a wide range of conditions. By working together, members develop the trust needed to find consensus when dealing with complex issues. Snapshot : Western aspen decline during the last century has been attributed to several causes including altered wildfire regimes, drought, excessive use by livestock and wildlife, and conifer tree encroachment. A diverse group of researchers, managers, and stakeholders collaborated to develop and test a step-by-step process for planning and implementing aspen restoration. Resulting guidelines by the Monroe Mountain Working Group provide a road map for decision makers to adaptively manage aspen in a time of increasing environmental stress and in anticipation of an uncertain future.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Kitchen, Stanley G.  
Research Location : Utah
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2019
Highlight ID : 1581

Summary

Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is a clonal species, meaning that it periodically produces suckers from a common root system that grow to replace older trees. Large clones cover many acres and include thousands of trees connected by roots that began sometime in the distant past from a single seed. As highly productive and biologically diverse communities, healthy aspen forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services. Western aspen decline during the last century has been attributed to several causes including altered wildfire regimes, drought, excessive use by livestock and wildlife, and conifer tree encroachment. Today's managers need guidance to develop and implement science-based strategies to restore structure, processes, and resilience to aspen growing across a range of situations. In response, a diverse group of researchers, managers and stakeholders called the Monroe Mountain Working Group collaborated to develop and test a step-by-step process for planning and implementing aspen restoration. The steps include: (1) assessment of aspen condition, (2) identification of problematic conditions, (3) determination of causal factors, (4) selection of appropriate response options, (5) monitoring for improvement, and (6) assessment and adaptation. Resulting guidelines provide a road map for decision makers to adaptively manage aspen in a time of increasing environmental stress and in anticipation of an uncertain future.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • David Tart, Regional Ecologist, Region 4
  • Jason Kling, District Ranger, Fishlake National Forest, Richfield District
  • John Guyon, Pathologist, Region 4
  • Patrick N. Behrens, Regional Silviculturist (retired), Region 4
  • ?
  • Grand Canyon Trust
  • Utah Division of Wildlife Resources