Restoration work to help improve aspen forests on Kaibab National Forest

The National Forest Foundation (NFF) recently expanded its partnership with the Salt River Project (SRP) to restore imperiled aspen forests on the Kaibab National Forest in northern Arizona.

A leading partner of the NFF’s reforestation efforts, SRP has been supporting landscape-scale reforestation in northern Arizona through their Trees for Change program since 2009. This year, customer contributions collected through SRP’s Trees for Change program will restore aspen stands in northern Arizona.

Aspen forests currently comprise less than one percent of forests on the southern half of the Kaibab National forest and provide particularly high ecological value and diversity.

However, these biodiversity aspen tree hotspots have declined in recent years due to competition from ponderosa pine, browsing damage from elk and deer and fire exclusion. To improve the health of these ecosystems, the NFF and the Kaibab National Forest have partnered on an ambitious two-year long, comprehensive aspen restoration project across 200 acres of the Kaibab National Forest.

Using funding from SRP, the NFF and the Kaibab National Forest are constructing temporary fencing to exclude elk and deer, which will allow aspen forests to regenerate. Additionally, the partners are planting young aspen seedlings to expedite aspen stand restoration. The project, now halfway completed, is expected to regenerate approximately 200,000 young aspen seedlings.

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