Utah is in the grip of an environmental crisis with the gradually diminishing cover of the Pando aspen clone also known as the Trembling Giant. This tree covers a vast expanse of land in one of the National Forests where thousands of these connect through an underground root system. They originate from a single plant and, hence, are genetically identical.

Newsweek reports that such a unique gift of nature is in danger of disappearing. Researchers of Utah State University have carried out detailed studies of these trees and have discovered that they are suffering from survival problems.

The forest is gradually deteriorating due to the menace of animals and corrective action is necessary to ensure that the trees continue to exist. It seems mature ones were withering away while new stems were not visible.

Reasons for such a scenario

The fate of the Pando aspen clone is an indication that man has not addressed the issues related to the environment.

He has gone in for development of the areas to promote human settlements, and constructed roads without bothering about the need to protect the surroundings from drought and fire. These have become more frequent due to the vagaries of climate. Moreover, animals like deer and cattle are also responsible for loss of the forest cover.

The study conducted by Utah State University observed that the mule deer had an adverse effect on the successful regeneration of these trees. This decline has been a process that began some four decades ago and is not a healthy sign for the environment. The team has also observed that it is possible to reverse the trend by implementing suitable restoration efforts.

Proper management of the aspen forests must take into account the presence of animals in the region and all of them must coexist. Proper forest management can bring back the aspen forests from the brink of extinction.

Restore the ecosystem to save the trees

According to CNN, the study of the Utah State University suggests loss of the Pando aspen clone is attributable to not only human indifference but to also the animals that encroach into these areas for grazing. It is up to the humans to prevent such encroachment and introduce suitable regulations to govern the movement of animals. This, in turn, will ensure survival of the forests. The study based their findings on past data that revealed a link between loss of the trees and the entry of elks in the same region. Other animals like mule deer and cattle also threaten the aspen trees. Therefore, the authorities must evolve a mechanism to have a coordinated drive to protect the delicate ecosystem.