Quaking aspen is generally considered to be a fire-adapted species because it regenerates prolifically after fire, and it can be replaced by more shade-tolerant tree species in the absence of fire. As early-successional aspen stands transition to greater conifer-dominance, they become increasingly fire prone, until fire returns, and aspen again temporarily dominate. While this disturbance-succession cycle is critical to the persistence of aspen on many landscapes, some aspen stands persist on the landscape without fire. The complex role of fire is an important consideration for developing conservation and restoration strategies intended to sustain aspen.
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