Aspen Regeneration

Do you know the importance of aspen trees for biodiversity in our watershed? Did you know that aspen stands are currently threatened? Aspen groves are in extreme decline due to conifer encroachment resulting from changes in natural fire and hydrology regimes. But you can help! Come out with us to learn about and help restore aspen tree habitat, one of the Sierra Nevada’s biodiversity hotspots.

Aspen Leaves in front of Rucker Lake

Since 2011, SYRCL has been working with the Tahoe National Forest and local volunteers to remove conifers in Loney Meadow, Rucker Lake, Pierce Wetlands, and Butcher Ranch Meadow.

Aspen facts:

  • Aspen typically live about 150 years
  • Aspen reproduce primarily from asexual root sprouting
  • Each colony is its own clone, and all trees in the clone have identical genetics, characteristics and share a single root structure
  • Aspen stands support more species than surrounding conifer vegetation types
  • It may take 3-4 years before aspen will sprout in a stand where conifers have been removed

Volunteers and Aspen

Since 2011, SYRCL has partnered with the Tahoe National Forest to work with volunteers and remove encroaching conifers from aspen tree patches that were struggling for light. These efforts are ongoing and projects to monitor success and continue to remove conifers are active at Rucker Lake, Pierce Wetlands, Loney Meadows, and Butcher Ranch.

Volunteer opportunities to help remove encroaching conifers are available in the summer months. Please visit our volunteer page to get involved.

Resources for SYRCL’s Meadow Restoration Program:

SYRCL Aspen Restoration Project. from Tony Loro on Vimeo.

To learn more about Aspen Restoration, view this video by the US Forest Service.

Consider joining SYRCL for a fun day in the field monitoring aspen density and cutting down a few trees!

The restoration days include carpooling to a meadow, learning about the importance of aspen and meadow ecology, and a few hours of conifer removal.

Aspen regeneration has been identified as a priority action that supports broader efforts to restore the health of mountain meadows in the Yuba watershed, which are important natural sources of clean water for the Yuba River.

Remember to bring:

  • Sunscreen and sun protection
  • Closed toed shoes
  • Long pants
  • Water
  • Lunch

Our aspen regeneration project is funded by the USFS, the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, and the Cosumnes American Bear Yuba IRWMP (DWR Funding). Meadows are fascinating and vital ecosystems – come learn about them and help us restore them!