Beetle Kill and Aspen Die-Off was the inaugural project of the larger Designers and Forest collaborative. This design venture was prompted by the pine, spruce, and aspen stressed and endangered as a consequence of changing conditions in the Intermountain West.
This project linked designers from Sweden and New York with foresters, activists, designers, artisans, and community members in Utah. The Swedish collaborators had a proven track record of creating high quality goods from local materials and also worked with local communities in establishing creative economies. The collaborators in Utah supplied the resources and desire to find innovative forest management techniques and the community connections necessary to make this project successful economically and with local citizens.
In the summer of 2013, members of Designers and Forests met in the forests of Utah to explore and experience the region and familiarize ourselves with the area’s problems. We engaged in a dialogue that allowed experts to share unique knowledge and perspectives across disciplines and borders with the intention of finding new ways of looking at the problems of stressed forests. We began a collaboration to propose possible solutions to the region’s problems and create a scalable model that could help create healthier forests and communities in Utah. We conducted workshops as we explored the state and met key members of different communities affected by beetle kill and aspen die-off. This research and exploration lead to the pilot projects currently being developed and implemented.