Short- and long-term changes in elk use and forage production in sagebrush communities following prescribed burning

  • Published source details Van Dyke F. & Darragh J.A. (2006) Short- and long-term changes in elk use and forage production in sagebrush communities following prescribed burning. Biodiversity and Conservation, 15, 4375-4398.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning

    A controlled study in 1984–1999 in a sagebrush shrubland in Montana, USA (Van Dyke & Darragh 2006) found that prescribed burning increased use of the area by elk Cervus canadensis. Elk used areas that had been burned more frequently (163–628 elk use days) than they used areas that had not been burned (32–298 elk use days). Burned areas had higher grass and forb cover and lower sagebrush cover than unburned areas. In October 1984, a 40-ha area of sagebrush shrubland was burned and, in April 1988, a 30-ha area was burned. Five permanent 404-m² plots (20.1 × 20.1 m) were established in each burned area and another five placed within the unburned portion, one in 1988 and four more in 1993. In June 1988–1993 and 1999, elk use of plots was estimated by counting the number of pellets within 1 m of six transects laid in each plot. Vegetation cover was estimated within five 25 × 51 cm randomly placed quadrats each plot. No livestock were present in the study area.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 19

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust