Contribution to Book
WD Shepperd, D Binkley, DL Bartos, TJ Stohlgren, and LG Eskew compilers
Sustaining Aspen in Western Landscapes: Symposium Proceedings
USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station
Aspen has been declining in Jackson Hole for many years, a condition generally attributed to the fact that lightning fires have been aggressively suppressed since the early 1900s. It is also believed that burning will successfully regenerate aspen stands despite high elk numbers. To test this hypothesis, I evaluated 467 burned and 495 adjacent, unburned aspen stands at eight different locations within Jackson Hole. Aspen suckering was stimulated by burning, but most aspen stands still failed to produce new stems greater than 2 m tall where ungulate use was moderate or high. Only when elk use was low were burned aspen stands able to successfully regenerate. At those locations, however, unburned aspen stands also successfully regenerated. Evidence suggests that a combination of fire and continued elk use may eliminate many aspen clones.
Kay, CE. 2001. Evaluation of burned aspen communities in Jackson, Hole, Wyoming. WD Shepperd et al (compilers). Sustaining Aspen in Western Landscapes: Symposium Proceedings. Proceedings RMRS-P-18. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. Fort Collins, CO.