Pando is the single largest, and possibly oldest, living organism on earth.
It is a stand of Aspen trees that covers 106 ares in Utah, that is actually one colony of trees that share a single root system and DNA.
The video below goes into the science of Pando:
Pando is dying.
From Live Science:
The World’s Largest Organism Is Dying
It’s death by a thousand nibbles.
Pando, the world’s largest living organism — and possibly its oldest — is being destroyed by the voracious appetite of mule deer.
Also known as the trembling giant, Pando is a colony of quaking aspen that spans 106 acres (43 hectares) of south-central Utah. Because of an explosion of deer in the area, new sprouts from Pando are eaten before they have a chance to mature, and the venerable organism is at risk of dying out altogether.
“If we had a community of 50,000 people and every one of them was over 80 years of age, we wouldn’t have a very sustainable community,” Rogers said. “That is exactly what we’re looking at with the Pando clone.”
The reason is that mule deer, and occasionally cattle, are devouring the babies of the community before they have an opportunity to grow to maturity. The problem has been going on for decades, Rogers said.
“It’s clear that nearly every sprout that comes up — they’re technically called suckers — is eaten almost immediately as it comes out of the ground,” Rogers said.
Meanwhile, the older stems are almost all between 110 and 130 years old, which is about the typical life span of individual quaking aspen stems, Rogers said. The forest floor is covered with dead trees, and no new life is coming in to replace it, he said.
Mule deer and other herbivores became such a problem for Pando in recent decades in part because of humans.
“Humans have eliminated predators,” Rogers said.
Without wolves prowling the area, for instance, deer populations not only explode, but the deer that do frequent an area become more brazen. Instead of moving on quickly, they linger and munch on the nutrient-rich sprouts to their hearts’ content.
Clearly there is a solution to this problem.
Enforce ranching restrictions to keep the cattle out of Pando.
Kill more Mule Deer.
Utah is a gun friendly state. Just increase the number of buck and doe tags for hunts in the southern region of Utah that are harming Pando.
Newsweek sheds a little more light on this issue.
According to Rogers, we must do a better job of managing wildlife and vegetation in a coordinated fashion.
“In the western U.S., states manage the animals, particularly so-called ‘game species,’ and the federal government manages large forest reserves,” he said. “These entities often have different priorities. In the case of Pando, mule deer management is somewhat in conflict with quaking aspen stewardship.”
The authors suggest that forest managers will need to consider altering deer and cattle browsing patterns in the long term and shoring up fencing in the immediate term.
So Utah and the US Department of the Interior need to have a sit down and discuss the killing of Muleys in the region of Pando. Get everybody on the same page.
Southern Utah is a beautiful place. I guarantee that if Utah publicized that is has an overabundance of Mule Deer and need the population reduced, they’d be able to fill every tag they offered, and just think about the increase in revenue from the additional tags sold.
Being a business friendly, private sector kind of guy, I could dream up all sorts of tax breaks and incentives to get Utah hunting guides to take people out to that area of the country and thin the Mule Deer population to Pando sustaining levels.
I know Donald Trump Jr. is a hunter. I couldn’t think a a better way for Utah to solve this problem them approaching Don Jr. about the need to kill more south Utah deer, than have him go on a top tier guided hunt and bag himself a big one.
The hand wringing environmentalists won’t like this. So what.
There is only one solution that both increases the amount of money the goverment takes in AND eliminates the overpopulation of deer.
C’mon Utah, this isn’t a hard call to make.