Mature Aspen Tree Management


The ZHA Board of Directors working with the Colorado State Forest Service, is considering a forest management plan to harvest mature aspen in Greenbelts G and AA. The Board has consulted with the local Colorado State Forest Service Forester and he has advised us that this strategy is a sound aspen management practice. The local forester’s opinion is this…

“One option for managing the aspen above California Circle is to harvest the trees. Harvesting the trees would be a sound forest management strategy. I am basing this off of the following-

The aspen trees are very densely spaced and competing for sunlight and nutrients. There is not much good regeneration of aspen. The aspen is mostly one age class – old. Harvesting the aspen will promote aspen regeneration and provide age class diversity to aspen stands at Zapata. The aspen is old and about as large as I usually see aspen in the SLV. There are some dead aspen. They (the live trees) could grow for another 50 years nice and healthy or just another 10. I think it would make sense to leave some larger dead, ones with signs of wildlife. Leaving large slightly imperfect/crooked trees is not a problem with aspen since they are clones. The key thing is making sure they are not in locations that would be easily damaged or in the way.

As a land manager I prefer to manage proactively rather than reactively. A harvest of the aspen would proactively encourage aspen regeneration.” – Adam Moore, Alamosa District Forester, Colorado State Forest Service

See the Aspen Silviculture Decision Matrix, other fact sheets about aspen at the end of this article for more information about aspen forest management strategies. Three video discussions about aspen can be found online at…

We have an opportunity to harvest these aspen for use by a local log cabin manufacturer. Using these trees for a commercial purpose would justify and cover the cost of having a logger come onto the subdivision to harvest and deliver the aspen logs to the manufacturer. We have the option to sell logs that are not commercially acceptable for construction as firewood. A second option would be to stock pile these logs in an area accessible to landowners to cut fire wood for their own use.

You can contact ZHA Board Chairman Jack Zeman with any questions or concerns. Jack Zeman, Chairman, Zapata Homeowners Association, 337 Cedar Ridge Road, Mosca, Colorado 81146,, 719-496-7923.