Stands of aspen on the Gros Ventre elk winter range of northwestern Wyoming are suffering high mortality and are not regenerating satisfactorily. If the 1970 mortality rate (3.6 percent) continues, about a two-thirds reduction in the numbers of tree-sized aspen can be expected by year 2000. Collected evidence suggests that the mortality rate is unusually high because of a combination of pathogenic fungi, injurious insects, and physiological stress that follow bark wounding of tree trunks. Elk and possibly moose are suspected of causing most of these severe trunk injuries. Sooty bark canker, Cytospora canker, and stem-boring insects were the most common pests associated with tree mortality. The prospect for aspen on the elk winter range is especially critical because of the heavy impact of browsing and pests on aspen sprouts which prohibits natural replacement of the dying aspen overstory.
Krebill, Richard G. 1972. Mortality of aspen on the Gros Ventre elk winter range. Res. Pap. INT-RP-129. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 16 p.