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Populus tremuloides
Aspen profile 520x289
Aspen is a critical resource for wildlife species requiring both cavities and deciduous foliage in tree and shrub canopies for breeding and foraging.  Approximately 55 bird species known to frequent the refuge potentially use these aspen plant communities for either reproduction or foraging. The aspen community type is the primary foraging and breeding habitat for ten of these species.  Thirty-one or 54% of the bird species known to use the aspen plant community are neotropical migrants. This habitat has been significantly reduced on the Refuge and in its vicinity by competition from encroaching ponderosa pine and the suppression of aspen and shrub regeneration by grazing livestock.  In recent years, a growing Rocky Mountain elk population has been contributing to this problem.  Many of the existing stands are dominated by over mature trees with little regeneration.  In the past, periodic fire removed encroaching pines and encouraged regeneration of aspen and understory shrubs and natural predators such as wolves controlled native ungulate populations.

Facts About Aspen

  • Make up less than 2% of Turnbull's landscape
  • Over 25% of the birds using the refuge, rely on aspen communities for nesting and foraging.
Last Updated: Sep 04, 2012
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