Response of elk to changes in plant production and nutrition following prescribed burning

  • Published source details Van Dyke F. & Darragh A. (2007) Response of elk to changes in plant production and nutrition following prescribed burning. Journal of Wildlife Management, 71, 23-29.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning

    A site comparison study in 1989–1999 in a sagebrush shrubland in Montana, USA (Van Dyke & Darragh 2007) found that prescribed burning was associated with a short-term, but not long-term, increase in elk Cervus canadensis usage. In the first year after burning, elk use of burned plots increased (from 116 to 210 elk use days) and declined on unburned plots (from 189 to 120 elk use days). After 10 years, elk use declined and was similar on both burned plots (72 elk use days) and unburned plots (56 elk use days). A 50-ha prescribed burn was made in April 1989, while 200 ha of the site was not burned. Five plots (404 m2 each) were established each in burned and unburned areas. Unburned plots, damaged by wildfire in 1991, were replaced in 1993 by three plots on remaining unburned land. Elk used the site from November–May. Elk pellet groups were counted in June 1989–1991, 1993, and 1999 along transects across each plot.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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