“What’s Killing the Aspen?: The signature tree of the Rockies is in trouble” is the title of a Science and Nature article in the October 2008 Smithsonian Magazine. Thanks to The Golden State for alerting me to this article.
It’s nice to see Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD) and the plight of the aspens receiving this national attention. Given that the iconic and beloved aspen’s are the largest life form known, and that their thrivability strategy has been tied to ecological disruption… seems like we humans might want to be paying attention to what we might learn from them. Bit’s of Wisdom from a Tree! is one effort to capture some of this.
Couple of final notes regarding the Smithsonian article: “Some clones are thousands of years old, although individual trees live 150 years at most.”
Yep, some clones are thousands of years old alright, like 10,000 or more years old. And while perhaps unusual, that 150 years is also shy by half.
John Shaw, PhD, Research Scientist, USU, documented this 300 year old Aspen. As of 2002, this was the oldest aspen on record. http://www.usu.edu/saf/h062802.html