Aspen is a deciduous tree that grows 15 to 30 meters high. It can be easily recognised by its swirling round and curly leaves, which sprout only in June after the tree has flowered. Aspen leaves sway gracefully in the wind; and in autumn, their colours are very impressive. Its trunk is straight, long, smooth and gray-green.
Aspen thrives in many sites. It enjoys bright and nutrient-rich habitats, such as moist, grove-like heath forests and groves. You often see aspen on the edge of the field or open areas. Its range extends from the western edge of Europe to the Japanese Sea.
Aspen is truly a tree of life. It is a valuable habitat for hundreds of species. Old rotting aspens are especially important to biodiversity, supporting a very diverse community of fungi, polypores, beetles, butterflies, birds and mammals, such as the Siberian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans). Many forest animals feed on aspen seedlings.
Aspen is a common species of our forests and a pioneer tree that thrives in open places. It is fast-growing but relatively short aged, usually living to less than 100 years old. Aspen has a strong root system, from which it will send new shoots after the old ones die. However, aspen is vulnerable to various types of damage and is therefore mainly grown in mixed forest stands with spruce.
In logging it is often left as a retention tree. Aspen wood is light, both in colour and weight, and is used in various ways, such as in saunas, for making toys and sports equipment, among others.
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