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UnDisciplined: What can be done to save this 80,000-year-old aspen forest?

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Tony Frates
/
Flickr

There's something humbling about stepping inside the 100 Acre Wood known as Pando. A forest of aspen trees with an interconnected root system in central Utah. It's one of the world's largest and oldest things, but it appears to be dying and efforts to save it have been uneven. Some parts are thriving, others are nearly gone. And it's not clear what could or should be done to save it.

Paul Rogers is an ecologist and the director of the Western Aspen Alliance.

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Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including Inheritance with geneticist Sharon Moalem and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His forthcoming book, Superlative, will look at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways.