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Aspen Utilization in the Intermountain West
Scott Bell, USDA Forest Service, Ogden, UT
Aspen restoration is a high priority for many of the National Forests in the Intermountain Region, particularly in Utah. Projected five year aspen offerings from all land ownership categories in Utah and portions of the surrounding States is 36,679 green tons of biomass (up to 7” dbh), 40.99 mmbf of small log (>7” – 12” dbh) and 6.149 mmbf of large logs (> 12” dbh). Markets for aspen products, such as industrial timbers, pallets, erosion matting, skids, mulch, rustic furniture, and paneling are currently weak, primarily due to high transportation costs and poor housing markets. However, there is a growing demand for niche products such as skis, snowboards, and specialty animal bedding. Some of these opportunities are from international markets. Renewable energy opportunities are also developing. Higher value aspen products need logs that are sound without or with limited rot and other defects.