A 106 acre (43 ha) aspen clone lives in the Fishlake National Forest in south-central Utah. Clones are comprised of multiple aspen stems, called ramets, which are genetically identical. This particular colony of ramets was named “Pando” (Latin for “I spread”) by researchers believing it to be the largest living organism on earth. Recently, forest managers have noted an accelerating rate of dying mature stems without recruitment of younger trees. This unsustainable situation has galvanized restoration efforts at Pando. Past management likely caused this imbalance; effective restoration will involve protection and a course reversal. As a laboratory, this forest icon may provide insights for much broader human-nature interactions.
Paul C. Rogers, Jody A. Gale, Darren McAvoy
Rogers PC, Gale JA., and McAvoy D. 2017. Pando's lessons: restoration of a giant aspen clone. Western Aspen Alliance Brief 4, 2 p. (http://www.western-aspen-alliance.org/files/briefs).