The West's famed aspen forests in peril

Jul 19, 2006

Colorado's famed aspen forests might be in peril, with large areas of the trees mysteriously dying.

The large-scale death of thousands of acres of trees in Colorado has been documented by aerial surveys, The Denver Post reported Wednesday.

"The aspen is in universal decline in the Intermountain West," aspen researcher Wayne Shepperd of the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colo., told the newspaper. "I haven't seen anything like this before in 37 years in the Forest Service."

The aspen, the most widely dispersed tree in North America, is commercially harvested for hardwood and provides food and cover for wildlife.

"We don't know how far it will go because we don't know what's causing it," aspen ecologist Dale Bartos told the Post. "I hate to sound alarmist but I am alarmed."

There seem to be no central reason for the aspen deaths, since the trees are dying in all areas, all elevations and in drought-stricken areas as well as fairly lush areas, the newspaper said.

"There is something else going on," Shepperd said. "We just can't put a handle on it."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Sierra Leone chimpanzees return home after Ebola retreat

Related Stories

For many US teachers, the classroom is a lonely place

9 hours ago

One of the best ways to find out how teachers can improve their teaching is to ask them. The massive Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) did just that and the answers offer crucial insights for teachers, school ...

Recommended for you

Viral proteins may regulate human embryonic development

10 minutes ago

A fertilized human egg may seem like the ultimate blank slate. But within days of fertilization, the growing mass of cells activates not only human genes but also viral DNA lingering in the human genome from ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.