Science You Can Use Bulletin, Issue 37: Everyone In: A Road Map for Science-Based, Collaborative Restoration of Western Quaking Aspen
With concern over the health of aspen in the Intermountain West, public and private land managers need better guidance for evaluating aspen condition and selecting and implementing actions that will be effective in restoring aspen health. The Utah Forest Restoration Group collaboratively synthesized a step-by-step approach for aspen restoration that was applicable to western U.S. forests. In a successful case study in shared stewardship, these restoration guidelines were applied to a challenging real-world setting. The Monroe Mountain Aspen Ecosystem Restoration Project, addressed diverse public and private lands needs and interests using an “All Hands, All Lands” strategy. The Monroe Mountain Working Group, a set of 21 stakeholder organizations representing broad interests, did background work and used a consensus model to provide recommendations to the USDA Forest Service’s Richfield Ranger District for the Environmental Impact Statement on the restoration plan, which was key to project implementation without litigation and general acceptance by local communities and the broader public. A collaborative effort among Forest Service scientists, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and a local environmental group has revised the original aspen restoration guidelines into a new publication that makes them more useful and helpful to managers.