Ecological - Second Order
Recovery after fire
Aspen exhibits a variety of ecological roles. In southern Colorado, the 1880 landscape mosaic contained a range of stand ages, of which half were >70 years old and half were younger. Pure aspen stands in southern Colorado are widespread and may result from previous short fire intervals that eliminated local conifer seed sources. Aspen regeneration in northern Yellowstone Park is controlled by ungulate browsing pressure and fire, so it has been limited since 1920. However, an episode of aspen seedling establishment occurred after the 1988 fires. We urgently need additional detailed, local case studies of aspen ecology to inform management decisions.