“The Forest of One” Reaching Its Demise

Esha Brar

The Pando Aspen Clone Forest, also known as the “Trembling Giant,” which consists of more than 100 beautiful green and yellow aspen trees is dying at a rapid and threatening rate. Although it may seem that humans aren’t at the root of this issue, we, in fact, did contribute towards the horrible decline of this breathtaking forest. Several more issues caused the forest to slowly decline over time. It should certainly be our mission to save what is left of the forest.

The Aspen Clone Forest

Residing in south-central Utah, the Pando Aspen Forest is known to act and behave as one tree would, hence its other title, “The Forest of One”. The Trembling Giant takes up a whopping 106 acres and has an estimated weight of 13 million pounds. The most fascinating aspect of this forest is that all 47,000 aspen trees all seem to have genetically identical compositions. Researchers discovered that the trees originate from one single parent. However, over time,  little regeneration of the single root system takes place, leading to fewer trees replacing the aspens that had died or were destroyed by humans. Not only that, but new stems were also not emerging, and the mature aspen trees were starting to die at a much swifter pace than before. However, don’t be alarmed, because humans were not the only reason for this rapid decay; a lot of other different factors have also led to the decline of the beautiful aspen trees.

One of the significant reasons for the lack of stability of the Aspen Clone system that researchers at Utah State University found was because of the different animals taking advantage of the Aspen Clone system, particularly the deer and cattle that graze in that particular region. Although humans have tried to prevent grazing by installing fences all around the forest region, many areas were left without fencing and some fences were broken into by the ravenous deer and cattle, who solely don’t mean to cause harm, but desire food. Clearly, the deer and cattle will have to find a new source of food, and a new place to graze. Researchers at the Utah University strongly suggest monitoring both the animal conservation, as well as the forests simultaneously to ensure that both these different species live a life of peace and tranquility overall. It is important to preserve the beauty of Pando Aspen Forest, but moreover it is vital because several different species, including the mule deer, depend on the use of the forest for their necessities and food sources. With hard work and perseverance, the Pando Forest certainly has the potential to flourish and recover from the loss they just faced.  For now, all we can do is observe the beauty of the forest and wait for an impactful solution to advance.