The aspen tree is easily reproduced from seed or sucker shoots, it quickly reforests disturbed sites where it builds soil and protects seedlings of slower growing species.
Ruminant animals can derive energy from cellulose, a major component of wood. However, in most wood the cellulose is surrounded by a chemical called lignin which makes wood extremely indigestible by ruminant animals. Elk often browse on aspen twigs and sprouts in the winter, achieving a food value equal to medium quality hay.
Animal bedding/Soil Conditioner Chips, shavings and sawdust from aspen, pine, cedar, cottonwood and basswood can be used for animal bedding and litter products. Pine is most common; cedar odor is well known and cottonwood is respected for its cleanliness. The lighter and medium weight woods (aspen) are more absorbent then the heavier species.
Although wood can be mixed with soils, the absence of the bacteria action in the decomposition creates “nitrogen starvation”. Using the wood as animal bedding prior to spreading on the soil provides the soil with the nitrogen need for decay by bacteria. The freedom from splinters and the clean smell of aspen and cottonwood make it desirable for animals, including mink.Aspen trees are a fast growing and generally short lived. The light, soft wood has very little shrinkage and high grades of aspen are used for lumber and wooden matches. Many kinds of wildlife benefit from the foliage, twigs and buds of this tree.