Their grazing caused fewer new saplings to grow, resulting in old, dying trees.
TrilobitesThe grove of 47,000 quivering aspen trees in Utah is being diminished by mule deer, foraging cattle and human mismanagement.ImagePando is a forest of one.CreditCreditLance Oditt, Studio 47.60 NorthOn 106 acres in Fishlake National Forest in Richfield, Utah, a 13-million-pound giant has been looming for thousands of years.
The results of the study were published in the journal PLOS ONE. "In addition to ecological values, Pando serves as a symbol of nature-human connectedness and a harbinger of broader species losses." said ecologist Paul Rogers. Those young trees pop up and replace the aging plants, completing the cycle that has sustained the tree network for tens of thousands of years, but the deer are posing a serious problem. So the forest, to use human terms, is made up "entirely of very elderly senior citizens", Rogers said.
Together with his colleagues McAvoy Darren looked at Rogers for the first time, the entire colony of American aspen. Maybe Pando just outcompeted other trees.Pando isn't alone: there are other groves of single-clone aspens in North America that dominate their landscape, though none as massive. It's seen the best and worst that planet Earth has to offer, but humans have found a way to slowly kill it off without even realizing it.
To mitigate Pando's destruction, the researchers recommend more fencing and deer management.
There is one part of the trembling giant that is thriving. Half of the area that the aspen clone takes up is unfenced and easily accessible by the mule deer and cattle. "Specially-foot table, deer seem to find a way through weak spots in the fence or jump over the eight foot (2.4 m) high fence". But "the fence is not doing its job, so it's also in a poor state", he said. Around that time, Rogers says populations of elk started to grow around the area. "If we can't manage that 106 acres and restore it, what does that say about our greater interactions with the earth?"More superlative things from natureLargest!" However, a large area of Pando is still suffering from "raids" of deer and cattle. This can be done by culling their numbers, restricting them with properly working fences or keeping them moving out of the area, as predators traditionally did, he said.
Yet despite being hailed as a wonder of the natural world, the Pando colony is in dire need of emergency care to stop it vanishing in coming decades. One clear lesson emerges here: "we can not independently manage wildlife and forests", said Rogers.