Aspen Restoration in the Inter-mountain West

Our March meeting over Zoom will feature Dr. Stanley Kitchen of the USFS Rocky Mountain Research Station.  His presentation will be on the importance, decline, and restoration of aspen forests in the Intermountain West.  This should be of particular interest as the Carson Ranger District is working to move forward with their West Carson project.

As highly productive and biologically diverse communities, healthy quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides; hereafter aspen) forests provide a wide range of ecosystem services across western North America.  Western aspen decline during the last century has been attributed to multiple causes and their interactions including: altered fire regimes, drought, excessive use by domestic and wild ungulates, and conifer encroachment.  Today’s managers need science-based guidance to develop and implement strategies and practices to restore structure, processes and resilience to the full range of aspen functional types across multiple spatial scales.  In these guidelines, a step-by-step process for making decisions for aspen restoration is detailed including: 1) assessment of aspen condition, 2) identification of problematic conditions, 3) determination of causal factors, 4) selection of appropriate response options, 5) monitoring for improvement, and 6) assessment and adaptation.  The need for reference areas is described in which the full range of natural environmental conditions and ecosystem processes associated with aspen can be observed and quantified. These guidelines provide a road map for decision makers to adaptively manage aspen in a time of increasing environmental stress and in anticipation of an uncertain future.

Dr. Stanley Kitchen is a Research Botanist with the Rocky Mountain Research Station and Scientist-in-charge of the Desert Experimental Range.  He is committed to working collaboratively to address the science needs of the Forest Service and other Federal and State land management agencies.  He has broad experience unraveling the impacts of invasive species, climate variability and disturbance on natural systems, with particular interest in long-term patterns of fire in forested and non-forested systems of the Interior West.  Currently, Stan serves on the Steering Committee for the Western Aspen Alliance and as a science advisor for the Utah Forest Restoration Working Group and the Monroe Mountain Working Group, diverse collaboratives grappling with the complexities of restoring aspen communities on a landscape scale.

Future Meetings:  In April we will have presentations on prescribed fire by District Ranger Matt Zumstein and the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District’s Smoke Management Plan by Executive Director Phill Kiddoo.  For May there will be a presentation on the role and importance of refugia after wildfires by Dr. Meg Krawchuk of the University of Oregon.  In June we will have a presentation on Postfire Restoration Framework for National Forests in California (the just released GTR 270) with Dr. Marc Meyer et al, of the USFS.  Suggestions for possible speakers are always welcome.

The March meeting it will be Tuesday March 2nd at 6:00 pm via Zoom video conference.  The Zoom link will be active beginning about 5:45 pm to give people time to chat and resolve any technical problems.  The connection information is below.

Meeting ID: 842 4400 4600,  Passcode: 095318

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Meeting ID: 876 9783 5270,  Passcode: 009634

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