Media Resources


The following information and resources provide writers and content creators with accurate information about the Pando tree and Friends of Pando activities. The page is organized as follows:

Friends of Pando Overview

Friends of Pando is a citizen-science based, volunteer-led 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Richfield, Utah. We are an official Partner to Fishlake National Forest, the public stewards of the Pando Tree and the land it calls home.


Mission: Friends of Pando is dedicated and working to educate the public, support research and preservation work and inspire stewardship of Pando, the world’s largest tree.


Brief History: Friends of Pando began informally. In 2019, founder Lance Oditt organized a series of hour-long community forums inviting artist, educators, scientists, land managers, community leaders and tree lovers to talk about Pando and share ideas about what we might do to help care for it. In 2020, we launched our website and began work to model programs to document, care for and study the Pando Tree. In 2021 we became a nonprofit, in 2022, became a partner to Fishlake National Forest. Today, we oversee 6 programs to achieve our mission and realize our vision Pando is enjoyed for generations to come. 

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Friends of Pando & Fishlake National Forest Partnership

Friends of Pando is an official Partner with the Fishlake National Forest, public stewards who oversee the Pando Tree and the land it calls home. As the only groups dedicated to Pando and the land it calls home, Friends of Pando and our programs focus on needed education, research and preservation efforts of the Pando Tree. If you have further questions for Fishlake Natioinal Forest, please contact Dan Child, Fishlake National Forest. You can contact us usuing our contact page.

Friends of Pando Year in Review

2022 was a watershed year for Friends of Pando. The year we bceame a nonprofit, forged a partnership with the US Forest Service and launched 3 longitudinal monitoring and preservation programs. From field and art, to community forums and fence restoration, learn about the year Friends of Pando

The Challenges of Communicating About Pando

Friends of Pando believes that those who write about the tree also have a role to play in the future and long term health of the tree. We’ve designed these media resources to empower writers to help the public understand the science and the complexity of the issues involved.


As a relatively recent discovery, one of the primary challenges of writing about Pando, is how little we actually know about the tree. Complicating matters is the fact that until Friends of Pando got underway, there was no group dedicated solely to Pando and the land it calls home.  Prior to Friends of Pando, nearly all stories about the tree originated from groups who have no long-term ties to the community where decision-making and the work that needs be done, must happen, in the land Pando calls home.


Today, false, inaccurate and misleading information about Pando discourages interest and dilutes a sense of shared ownership. After all, if the tree were actually 80,000 years old (in effect, immortal, which it is not), or conversely, is doomed to die (it is not) -why should anyone care to support research, stewardship, or care about the human experience of the tree?


To that end, the media resources provided here are designed to help journalists separate fact from fiction. We also hope to help them understand the broad variety of issues, concerns, groups and activities working to ensure Pando can be preserved and enjoyed for generations to come.

Introducing the Pando Tree

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What is the Pando Tree?

Pando: Life on the Boundary of Discovery of Imagination is our most popular article and provides a broad overview of Pando’s discovery, how the tree works and the land and people it shares its home with.

Quick FAQs

For those looking for quick answers, our “Quick FAQ’s” answer the most popular questions (and misconceptions) most readers have about the tree, its discovery, how it works and what it takes to take care of the tree.

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The Science of Pando Guide

As a recent discovery only verified in 2008 through genetic testing, their is much to learn about Pando. Download our collated collection of key research papers, commentaries and models used to understand and protect Pando today. 


Friends of Pando Data Store

Friends of Pando undertakes a variety of data analysis, research and monitoring programs creating local jobs while working to ensure the tree can be enjoyed for generations to come. Review studies and gather freely available data here.

Fact and Fiction
Curious, Spurious and Unverifiable Claims about Pando

Updated: October 7, 2022

Providing accurate information about the tree is part of the Friends of Pando mission. Refuting false, inaccurate and misleading information is equally important. Below is a list of commonly misreported information and the corresponding clarifications. Before syndicating articles or quoting “facts” from other articles, we encourage you see if that item is on the list below. If you have other questions, feel free to use our contact page and we will work with you to substantiate the claim or connect you with someone who has more expertise in that area.

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False, Inaccurate, or Misleading

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Pando is 40,000 or 80,000 years old

This statement is false and misleading since there is no way to reliably test Pando’s age. Many scientists believe Pando could not be any older than 8,000 to 12,000 years old, since ice age era weather currents made the area inhospitable. 

Pando is 106 acres

This statement is inaccurate and possibly misleading. Pando spans an area of around 106 acres but not all of that area is visible to humans nor, actively regenerating. The most recent maps, created by Paul Rogers and Daren McAvoy, shows the “visible” size to be about 103 acres. We do not know the extent of Pando’s activity below ground.

Pando is located in the Wasatch Mountains

This statement inaccuratePando lives beneath Fishlake Hightop and Mytoge Mountain on the boundary of the Basin and Range and Colorado Plateau ecological provinces. It is important to note, some locals consider this area part of the “spine” of the Wasatch Mountains, other still refer to it as the “Wasatch Plateau” as this mountain group overlaps with a variety ranges that appear connected,  but geologically speaking, are not.

Pando is not the world’s largest tree

This statement is false and misleading. Pando is five times larger in by dry weight than the next largest tree, a Sequoia giganticum named the General Sherman tree . Pando is also twice the size of the next largest Aspen Clone (106 acres versus 47 acres). Distinctions made by forestry and botanical organizations about the “largest plants” vary considerably between scientific domains of expertise. They also vary between scientific groups around the world. Pando is the largest tree when measured by multiple standards (type, area and weight), which is not true of any other tree.

Pando is the world’s largest organism

The use of the word “organism” is misleading. Although Pando challenges traditional notions of what a tree is, or, what a tree can be, there is no question that Pando is a tree. The use of the word “organism” leads people to believe there is some comparison between Pando and other clonal lifeforms that are not trees. Lifeforms which may be bigger in a single dimension (ex: area), but not across all the dimensions that describe a tree operating on Pando’s scale.   

The Humongous Fungus is larger than Pando

This statement is inaccurate and misleading along multiple lines. First, multiple fungal bodies bear the name “Humongous Fungus” (Oregon and Michigan each have one, and another “mega-fungus” has been reported in Italy). Secondly, in terms of raw size, Pando is over 14 times larger by weight than the estimated weight of the “Humongous Fungus” of Michigan. Weight estimates for the Oregon “Humongous fungus” vary. Third, the statement compares two unrelated “organisms” (see above) where methods and classification systems between botany and mycology vary considerably.

Pando is dying

This statement is false and misleading. Pando continues to regenerate itself. Research by Paul Rogers indicates deer and other ungulates stymie Pandos’ growth, but as a recent discovery in a class of its own, we do not yet know the rate of regeneration we might expect for Pando considering all other factors human and non-human.  In simple terms, research by Sam St. Clair suggests the “tipping point” of shrinkage that marks imminent death is about 60% total area, which we do not see see with Pando while at the same time, we see active regeneration.

We could just clone Pando to solve its problems

This statement is false and misleading. We cannot clone the Pando because what makes Pando unique is how it operates as a whole in its homeland.

Pando lives in a wilderness area (It does not)

This is false, Pando lives an in an area designated for recreation. The land Pando calls home has been used as a summer retreat, for recreation and commerce for some 1,500 years. Furthermore, the land Pando calls home would not qualify as wilderness by any existing designation for wilderness we have today.

The Forest Service isn’t doing anything

This is misleading and false. The Forest Service led the effort to begin to protect Pando in the 1980’s and continues to support a wide variety of efforts to protect it today. You can read an overview of their work on the tree here.

The Forest Service wants to tear Pando out so
they can set up more recreation

This is misleading and inaccurate. The Fishlake National Forest recognizes Pando in their planning documents as a special place they want to protect.

Cattle grazing is destroying Pando

This is misleading for a number of reasons. First, the majority of Pando is protected by a fence (around 53 acres) – cattle are forbidden in those areas and discouraged in other areas. Second, some studies on the impact of cattle grazing have not been verified through peer reviewed processes. We encourage media professionals to request documents which are available to the public through the Forest Service and or, to contact the actual ranching groups before making such claims since ranching and water rights are “hot button” topics in the Intermountain West.

Tourism is destorying Pando

This is misleading and should be considered a position and not factual for a number of reasons: First, no one lives in and around Pando year round – in this way, everyone is a tourist. Second, no independently verified data exists about actual human usage of Pando’s one marked trail. Third, this claim marginalizes a variety of successful policies that have been employed to great success by other National Forests and Park lands to protect special trees from human use. Finally, tourism is a “hot button” topic whose discussion,  marginalizes the fact that historically speaking, Utah has experienced multiple periods of time where the land has become inhospitable to sustainable human uses. 

Fencing will protect Pando

This is misleading.  There is no silver bullet with Pando. Fencing helps control over-browsing by native deer and seasonal seonal deer and elk herds, and also defines areas where grazing is not allowed. To date, fencing has been shown to be effective in promoting and sustaining regeneration, but that is not all that need be done. Pando is also fighting three diseases, about which we have no independently verified data on how to approach and resolve. Expanded fencing will help promote regeneration as has been shown, but fencing alone will not meet the all the challenges that need be faced, that work will involve decades and generations of collaboration among meany fields of science.

Pando and Climate Change

We receive a number of request inquiring about climate change and Pando. To date, there have not been any peer reviewed studies about Pando and climate change. Safely assuming Pando is  thousands of years old (8,000-12,000 years), cursory research on climate in Utah indicates Pando has survived multiple severe and even catastrophic droughts that have spanned centuries.

Lets set wolves loose to solve the deer problem…

This is false and misleading. In social media posts and comment sections of news stories about Pando, one can often find suggestions that wolves could somehow help solve over-browsing by deer and elk as was seen at Yellowstone National Park some years ago with the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone after destruction of riparian lands. For the Fishlake Basin, introducing wolves is neither practical nor, sustainable because of what we know about wolves and the surrounding lands. First, wolves are highly territorial. Assuming a wolf pack was introduced and stayed, there would likely only be one pack in an area this small, wolves roam; packs have a range of 50 square miles or more while Fishlake Basin is only 10 square miles. Pando only about 0.2 square miles and about .75 miles at its widest extent. Third, wolves are very shy about human contact and Fishlake Basin is a well-visited recreation land with an official designation as such. Finally, it is worthwhile to keep in mind, predatory pressures are cyclical and must be sustained to remain effective. 


Hunting can solve the deer and elk problem

For some years now, there have been discussions about allowing hunting by the general public or, by specially trained sharpshooters to help curb deer populations. Today, various local, state and federal policies forbid recreational hunting in and, around Pando while nearby protected lands like Capital Reef National Park create wildlife corridors that provide safe passage for deer to roam in and out of Pando’s homeland virtually unabated. A sustainable plan for deer and elk management would involve consideration of all these factors and not just the killing of deer we see in Pando’s home. More, it would be a year round effort as there are “local” herds of deer as well as “seasonal” herds. Although there is no question more needs to be done to discourage deer browsing (Ex: Fencing), to date, no one has presented a workable, peer-reviewed model nor policy framework to employ hunting alongside other methods such as fencing and active monitoring to solve the problem.

Pando is no longer the largest organism, sea grass is.

We expected and indeed, have received a number of inquiries about the discovery of a  sea grass presently nicknamed “Posieden’s Ribbon Weed” (Posidonia australis)—a sea grass clone in Australia which spans 47 square miles underwater.  In 2012, a related sea grass (Posidonia oceanica) was found to be the same estimated weight as Pando, so it was only a matter of time until Pando had a seafaring cousin in stature. Friends of Pando welcomes the spirit of discovery that inspired these finds and congratulates the team on the hard work. As initial research also indicates those plants are vulnerable, we wish their research team/s luck as they work to understand how to preserve it as an incomparable representatives to nature’s imagination.

Pando is splitting into 3 trees or sections

A spate of recent news stories suggests Pando is “breaking up” and/or has broken into 3 zones. As with previous claims that Pando is dying or rapidly decaying, such claims come without any agreed to reference point for expected regeneration rates for Pando. Research that could be done, is possible—and has been done with other aspen trees, but not with Pando. Absent data on expected or even ideal regeneration rates, its compelling to us that indeed, areas without fencing typically fare worse than those that do have fencing. Although fencing isn’t a panacea, it is something that can be done to hlep protect this natural wonder with no compare. 

We can “re-wild” Pando

We have seen an uptick in request and questions about the idea that we can “re-wild” Pando, that is, restore the tree and the land it calls home to some initial state based on what we would have expected it to be like before human activity played a role in shaping what we see today. As mentioned above in “Pando is in a wilderness area”, the land Pando calls home has been used by humans for at least 1,500 years as a retreat, a place for agriculture, hunting and commerce as well as recreation. Although we do not have more research at this time, the history of indigenous uses is not fully understood and may be lost to history as the first humans to inhabit these lands and historically shared this land with Pando, endured violence and displacement campaigns well into the 1970’s while the tree itself was not first documented until 1976. Although there is no question human interaction with the tree has and, will continue to shape the tree and the land it calls home, restoring the tree to some previous time neglects the fact the tree lives and is part of a complicated dynamic which has arguably always involved human activity. Research and ongoing monitoring is work that can affirm the human connection to the tree and importantly, reveal our role both positive and negative.

Note on Sources: We do not share third party contact information without the express permission of that party. We would be happy to refer you to direct sources and answer any other questions you may have via our Contact Us page.


Free Images for Your Articles

The following images may be used with permission and proper citation for scientifically accurate stories and articles related to Friends of Pando and the Pando tree. Please send email to media at friendsofpando dot org for large scale images for print publications.

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Aerial view of Pando's Land Mass | Credit: Lance Oditt, | GIS Map: Paul Rogers & Daren McAvoy | Right click image to Download

Friends of Pando is dedicated and working to educate the public, support research and preservation efforts and inspire stewardship of Pando, the world’s largest tree.


Friends of Pando is a proud partner of Pando’s public land stewards, Fishlake National Forest of the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Agriculture. Learn more about our partnership.


Friends of Pando and its partners are equal opportunity employers.


Just $14 a month supports work to ensure Pando can be enjoyed for generations to come. Make a one-time or, recurring tax deductible donation today.

Friends of Pando
PO Box 12
Richfield, UT, 84701
Phone: 435-633-1893
IRS EIN: 87-3958681