College of Forestry

Global Trophic Cascades Program

The Ecology of Fear

Scientists Say Wolves Are Helping Restore Yellowstone’s Ecosystem
by Jeff Welsch,

For four years, they toiled in parallel wilderness laboratories a thousand miles from home, both quietly minding their own business, which is plant science. Bill Ripple and Bob Beschta were working in separate obscurity, attempting to explain the decline and rise of three key tree species in Yellowstone National Park’s northern range.

Wolves linked to vegetation improvements

By Amber Travsky
March 18 ,2004, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle newspaper.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK - Biologists had a question: what was happening to the aspen in Yellowstone National Park? Although quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America, its abundance has been shrinking over the past century. This loss has been especially apparent in our nation’s first park, where stands of the white-barked tree, with its trembling leaves and brilliant fall foliage, have decreased dramatically over the last century.

Wolves enhance biodiversity in Yellowstone, report says.


Date: Wednesday, October 29, 2003

RICHARD L. HILL - The Oregonian

Summary: Change in elk behavior leads to cottonwood growth, which benefits fish and birds, OSU researchers find

The return of wolves to Yellowstone National Park appears to be boosting biological diversity around streams and helping nearly extinct stands of cottonwood trees flourish again, say two Oregon researchers.