Golly, John, at least be consistent. Blame man, and then say, "The prime
suspects are grazing cattle, foraging wildlife, competing vegetation and
unnatural suppression of fire, all of which may have interfered with the growth
of sprouts." Two of the four are not caused by man. If there is a link to
man, then explain, don't just blame.
So an area was clear cut and now over grown with new young Aspen trees and
sprouts.Sounds like man needs to do more of this.Species come
and go all the time. Their ranges expand, contract or simply change. Pardon me if I don't get really upset over these really old Aspen trees
dying. With old trees dying and new "sprouts" coming up to replace
them, I guess on one level it is the same organism, but is it really?I have had the same ax for 40 years. I replace the handle twice and the head
three times.I have also had the same computer for 20 years. Replaced the
motherboard 6 times, the dives several times as well, and the case 4 times.
I'll be watching the obituaries for Pando. I'm sure it will say
something like "Instead of flowers, please consider purchasing a few extra
carbon credits."Maybe I'll attend the viewing.
If anyone has any doubts that wild lands should be kept out of local control
please read the comments to this article!
Poor Liberal Larry. We must be more careful about how we express ourselves.
What a bunch of nonsense. People, it is all about Agenda 21 and putting
"mother earth" before humans and limiting human populations to selected
metropolitan areas in dense populations.
It seems we have lost the concept of the scientific process. We study,
hypothesize, test hypothesis, then report the results to a peer review. The
general populace does not constitute a peer review. The clear-cutting of a
section may have been controversial but shouldn't weigh on the peer review
of trained biologists. Here's my hypothesis but it is probably beyond
the scope of most people's attention span: the factors determining grove
health are multiple and intertwined. They include competition with conifers,
grazing by both domestic cattle and wildlife, climatic changes, failure to thin
the grove and wildfire suppression which expose the grove to disease. By
allowing some factors to take their "natural course" while artificially
controlling others without concern for their ultimate effect, what other adverse
outcome can you expect?
How do we know it is the world's largest living thing? Maybe better to say,
the largest KNOWN living thing. There may be other groves of genetically
identical trees that are even bigger, that have not yet been discovered.
Fire suppression seems the likely cause. Through 80,000 years, Pando was likely
subject to hundreds of fires that consumed older, dead trees, clearing the way
for younger ones. However, in the past 100 years or so, fires have not been
allowed to burn in the Fish Lake Basin. It seems the area that was clear
cut is now regenerating. Perhaps that's the answer, clear cut it in a
mosaic pattern over the next 20 years and allow it to regenerate. Too
often people think that land management means leave it alone and don't let
anything happen. The problem is that if it's to be managed, it needs to be
done in a proactive way, or in a way that doesn't allow nature to run its
What fire does is clean out the competition that the sprouts would have. Clear
cutting would help but there are other factors. Also, it appears we probably
need to harvest more deer and elk in the area keep the cattle away from the
aspens if all possible. It will be a multi-prong approach. Undoubtedly human
contact has effected the growth and health of this organism, but it doesn't
need to be fatal and humans could be part of the solution to restore the health
@liberal larry"If anyone has any doubts that wild lands should
be kept out of local control please read the comments to this article!"With liberals it is never about preserving the wilderness. It is about
control. Just and King John seized all the deer in the Kings forest, so our
government is depriving us of access to our own public lands. Not only are they
doing that but they are attempting to keep people from using their own private
property. You simply cannot allow people to be self reliant if you
are to impose socialism upon them. Everyone must be dependent upon the
government for their jobs, food, clothing, heat and most importantly medical
care.If they are dependent upon government, government owns them.
Birth, reproduction, and death are well known to be the perpetual cycle for all
living organisms, and all are deserving of an equal attitude of reverence toward
life. Suggesting that some unknown external influence must be hastening the
senescence of "Pando" is probably unwarranted. Citing the parameters
that characterize this particular grove of trees as some sort of remarkable
collective lifeform is also trite and silly. All organisms exist in communities
of some kind and contribute to the perpetuation of their species, whether or not
their biomass happens to be physically interconnected in some way. There is no
particular metaphysical element unique to a grove of Aspens that makes them any
more magic than any other species of living creature.I would suggest
that if management is deemed desirable, cutting down old specimens to promote
new growth is a demonstrated effective approach to rejuvenating the stand.
Funny how people are able to politicize the development of an aspen growth.
Heaven forbid that we assign any responsibility to humans. So despite some rocky
suspicions of a monarchist power play to deprive people of their right to access
public land (in all my drives through the area I have never once seen barriers
or even signs forbidding me from traipsing across the landscape, so maybe people
in Federal Way knows something I do not? Then we have some codger talking about
an Agenda 21 conspiracy trying to compel urbanization on the populace. You know, the extreme view is usually the least useful. This is basically a
no-brainer. Let the natural course of fire support the natural course of growth,
allow enough hunting permits to control the deer population, encourage grazing
outside of the stand (the article mentions the ranchers have already been
cooperative). If some very minor changes don't solve the problem, then we
have to accept that Pando's time is up. But people, it is not a liberal
threat when we work together to make our planet a nice place to live, especially
when it does not limit any industry or population growth.
There is tons of data from the GBES that say the best management for aspen is
abuse. Logging and fire stimulate reproduction. Conifer forest is the biggest
threat to aspen since aspen is very dependent on sunlight which conifers block.
Fire suppression is not an issue in this place. There have been no fires there
to suppress. Maybe it's time to read all the data written about making
aspen and apply it rather than dreaming up unfounded theories.
Plant one aspen tree, and 20 years later you can have a small forest in your own
backyard...my Dad gave me used the job of chopping the small trees down to the
root and pouring gasoline on the root...it didn't do much good, but kept me
busy for several summers out of school...and my Dad paid me $.25 an hour. Big
money to a tween ager...