106 Reforestation

For the past few years Utah landowner Mike Siaperas, has been bulldozing openings in his mature aspen forest to grow a younger and more pure aspen forest on the Tavaputs Plateau southeast of Price. Siaperas, who received the Forest Landowner of the Year award in 2011, was concerned about how subalpine fir trees were taking over his aspen and he sought the advice of Natalie Conlin, Southeast Area Forester for the Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

Western aspen most often reproduces from the roots through vegetative sprouting, or suckering. The lack of disturbance on much of the Tavaputs Plateau, and in much of Utah’s forests means that there is a lack of young aspen forests. Many bird and mammal species depend on young aspen for breeding and foraging habitat. Wildlife biologists tend to be concerned about the lack of young aspen on Utah landscapes overall.

Why 106?
106 Reforestation is dedicated to the 106 acres of Pando, the Trembling Giant. One of the world's oldest and most massive living organisms is a grove of quaking aspens in the Fish Lake National Forest in Utah. When the Pando Clone was discovered, scientists named it with a Latin word that means “I spread.” An aspen clone starts with a single seed and spreads by sending up new shoots from the expanding root system. These shoots become trees that are genetically identical.

Pando is located about 1 mile southwest of Fish Lake on State Highway 25, and is believed to be the largest organism ever found at nearly 13 million pounds. The clone spreads over 106 acres, consisting of over 50,000 individual trees.