Aspen islands

When disturbances such as wildfire create an opening in the forest canopy, particularly on moist soils, “islands” of aspen colonize the area. Aspens provide habitat for numerous avian species, including ruffed grouse, Wilson’s warbler, red-naped sapsucker. Dependant on frequent disturbances to take root, aspens have declined in the West following decades of fire suppression.

Arguably North America’s most important tree in terms of wildlife use, aspens are also the most widespread tree on the continent, but this habitat is uncommon in Washington and currently underrepresented in the Wilderness system.  The Profanity roadless area along the Kettle Crest, the lower elevations of Abercrombie-Hooknose roadless area, and other wild areas in the Columbia Highlands harbor magnificent islands of aspen.



  1. […] a staggering diversity of classic Kettle Range habitats, from interior mixed-conifer forest to aspen groves and sagebrush meadows. The Jungle Hill Trail begins with a quick dip in a creek before attacking […]

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