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    Author(s): Andrea Watts; Mary RowlandMichael Wisdom
    Date: 2020
    Source: Science Findings 231. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.
    Publication Series: Science Findings
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (4.0 MB)

    Description

    Elk are an iconic species in the Pacific Northwest. The animals are valued as a cultural resource by American Indian tribes, and elk viewing and hunting bring economic and social benefits to many rural communities. Elk forage on grasses, shrubs, and other early-seral vegetation. As timber harvests have declined on federal land in the region over the past 30 years, so has the availability of quality elk forage. At the same time, recreation and other public uses of federal land have increased. As a result, elk are turning to private lands for forage and refuge from human disturbance. This leads to conflicts and reduced hunting opportunities.

    Consequently, state and federal agencies, tribes, and hunting organizations are working to increase elk habitat on public and tribal lands where elk are a priority. In 2007, Mary Rowland and Michael Wisdom, research wildlife biologists with the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, were charged with developing new elk habitat and nutrition models for western Oregon and Washington. They enlisted the expertise of numerous scientists, and American Indian tribes provided telemetry data.

    These summer range regional models of elk nutrition and habitat use incorporate the latest research on elk nutrition, elk response to disturbance, and other spatial landscape data to predict elk use of landscapes. National forests and tribes are using these models to identify areas where active management can improve elk habitat and the quality of their diets.

    Publication Notes

    • Visit PNW's Publication Request Page to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Watts, Andrea; Rowland, Mary; Wisdom, Michael. 2020. Predicting where elk will thrive: New models point the way. Science Findings 231. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 5 p.

    Keywords

    Elk, Cervus canadensis, habitat-use model, nutrition, land management.

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