In montane forests of the Intermountain West composition and function are often defined by what happens with quaking aspen. Aspen is a pioneer species that regenerates quickly following disturbance and then establishes ecological conditions under which the rest of the biological community develops. Quaking aspen forests have high biodiversity and provide ideal habitat for many animals. Aspen regeneration from root sprouts is highly palatable to wildlife and livestock. When browsing becomes chronic it leads to regeneration failure and eventual loss of aspen forests and associated species. Ironically, this can result in habitat and forage loss for wildlife and livestock. Here we address ecological conditions and management approaches that increase aspen resilience to ungulate herbivory.
St. Clair SB, Rogers PC, Kuhns MR. 2015. Managing ungulate browsing for sustainable aspen. Western Aspen Alliance Brief 2, 2 p. (http://www.western-aspen-alliance.org/files/briefs)