Exploring A Stable Aspen Niche Within AspenConifer Forests of Utah
All Graduate Theses and Dissertations
This study addresses a critical issue faced by resource managers confronting aspen restoration projects in the Intermountain West. Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides Michx.) forests have received a large amount of popular and academic attention over the last decade due to concerns over decline. As a result, both private and public forest resource managers have focused attention on actively restoring aspen communities through treatments such as prescribed burning, logging, and grazing exclosures to name a few. There is increasing evidence suggesting the existence of "stable" aspen communities. This community type undergoes processes entirely different from successional aspen communities and therefore may require entirely different restoration treatments. Classifying "stable" aspen communities has traditionally been done in the field according to community composition. However, there is evidence that suggests "stable" aspen communities may be related to biophysical variables that can be attained through remote sensing and GIS methods. This suggests the potential for a habitat modeling approach to classify "stable" and "seral" aspen communities, providing an extremely useful tool for planning aspen restoration projects across landscape scales. This study aims to produce such a model.
Mittanck, C.M. 2012. Exploring a stable aspen niche within aspen-conifer forests of Utah. [MS Thesis] Utah State University, Logan, Utah. 131 p.