National Park Service

Upper Columbia Basin Network (UCBN)

Aspen Monitoring

Aspen grove at Craters of the Moon NMP
Aspen grove at Craters of the Moon NMP

Aspen Monitoring Resource Briefs

Aspen Monitoring Reports

Aspen Monitoring Protocol & Procedures

For more information contact: Gordon Dicus

Parks Monitored

Importance / Issues

  • Aspen communities are one of the most biologically rich areas in the Intermountain West. However, quaking aspen is declining rapidly in many areas, with an estimated loss of 61% in Idaho (Bartos 2001).
  • Aspen declines cascade into losses of vertebrate species, vascular plants, invertebrates, and nonvascular organisms.
  • Current fire intervals, extents, and intensities are not regenerating aspen at historic rates, and are likely causes to the aspen decline observed today. Secondarily, shade-tolerant conifer encroachment and overtopping is contributing to aspen decline.
  • Aspen is a particularly important resource at City of Rocks National Reserve, bringing many visitors in the fall to view the aspen coloration.
  • Our aspen monitoring program will address overall aspen abundance, conifer encroachment, and aspen regeneration.

Monitoring Objectives

  • Estimate current status and long-term trend in regeneration of park aspen populations as well as individual stands.
  • Estimate status and trend in conifer density within aspen stands.
  • Estimate status and trend in aspen abundance, as measured by stem density of live and dead trees, within aspen stands.
  • Estimate the status and trend in dead standing aspen stems.

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Last Updated: April 05, 2017 Contact Webmaster