Guidelines for Aspen Restoration on the National Forests in Utah
Due to its high productivity and structural diversity, aspen is capable of supporting the broadest array of plant and animal species of any forest type in the West, and is considered second only to riparian areas in its support of biodiversity (Chong, et al. 2001). Aspen can support diverse grass, forb, and shrub species and, therefore, habitat for a wide variety of bird, mammal, and arthropod species (Mueggler 1985). However, aspen has decreased throughout the Intermountain West during the 20th century, and aspen-dominated acreage within the five national forests of Utah has declined by 50% or more in recent decades (e.g., see Fig. 1 in Kay and Bartos 2000). This decline is of special concern, as aspen does not commonly reproduce from seed and thus loss of an aspen clone may be the loss of a long-standing aspen presence not easily recovered.