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   Pure stands of Aspens (first photograph below) grow thickly in what was once an open very sunny area.  The Aspens are gradually invaded by conifers (second photograph) and as shade-loving conifer seedlings mature, new Aspen sprouts are shaded and kept from growing.  Eventually the forest will become pure conifers.

    Note, however, that in the foreground of the third photograph, small Aspens are sprouting and the field will soon become a pure Aspen forest  --  only to be replaced in a century or two by conifers.

Populus tremuloides

A pure stand of

Populus tremuloides.

Populus tremuloides

Young Picea Engelmannii (Engelmann Spruce) thrive in the shade of Populus tremuloides.

Populus tremuloides

Populus tremuloides

Eventually Populus tremuloides will not regenerate, for the conifers produce heavy shade and Aspens need strong sunlight to sprout new trees from their roots. 

In the top photograph at left, the sunny meadow in the foreground shows 3-5 foot tall Aspens sprouting from the roots of the Aspens that used to thrive in the background forest.

In the second photograph at left, you see a typical San Juan National Forest scene of a mixed Populus tremuloides and Picea engelmannii forest. Pure stands of Populus tremuloides are indeed gorgeous in the fall, but these mixed stands have a special dramatic beauty that really appeals to me.