Ecology

seedingThe pollen record shows that Aspen was one of the first trees to colonise Britain after the end of the last Ice Age.

It shares many characteristics with other pioneer tree species, such as willows, pine, birch and alder.  It is tolerant of a wide-range of soils and climatic conditions, and it disperses readily by wind.

Aspen is light-demanding and appears to establish and persist most successfully on open sites which experience periodic disturbance.  It is also highly palatable to herbivores.

The most important feature of Aspen ecology is its capacity for regeneration.  Unlike most trees, Aspen infrequently flowers and sets seed.  When it does so, it yields many light seeds which can be carried great distances by the wind.

suckersHowever, Aspen readily produces root suckers which can develop into new trees or ‘ramets’.  This allows a single tree to grow into a grove in which all the stems belong to a single clone.  In temperate forests, this ability is shared only with a few trees and shrubs in the genus Prunus (such as cherry and blackthorn).  This ability can confer virtual immortality on some Aspen clones.

clone

 

 

 

For more information, download

Aspen Review 2010

This article has some files available for download:
pdf type file AspenReview2010