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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effect of burning or clipping bluebunch wheatgrass Agropyron spicatum in the autumn on the spring foraging behaviour of mule deer Odocoileus hemionus near Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada

Published source details

Willms W., Bailey A.W. & McLean A. (1980) Effect of burning or clipping Agropyron spicatum in the autumn on the spring foraging behaviour of mule deer and cattle. Journal of Applied Ecology, 17, 69-84


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use prescribed burning Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1975–1977 on grassland in British Columbia, Canada (Willms et al. 1980) found that in burned areas, bluebunch wheatgrass Agropyron spicatum was consumed more by foraging mule deer Odocoileus hemionus than it was in unburned areas. Deer took more bites/observation of bluebunch wheatgrass in burned plots (average 22 bites) than in unburned plots (average two bites). Plots were studied at two sites in sagebrush and two in Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii forest. At each site, plots (1.25 × 5 m) were established in a block. In each block, in October 1975, three plots were burned and three were not burned. In April 1976, three deer were fenced onto the block and their selection between plots was assessed through direct observations at intervals through the day. The same three deer were used on all blocks and observed twice/block for one day each time. In April 1977, four deer were observed, on two blocks combined, over four days.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Remove vegetation by hand/machine Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1975–1977 on grassland in British Columbia, Canada (Willms et al. 1980) found that in mown areas, bluebunch wheatgrass Agropyron spicatum was consumed more by foraging mule deer Odocoileus hemionus than in unmown areas. Deer took a higher average number of bites/observation of bluebunch wheatgrass in mown plots (12 bites) than in unmown plots (two bites). Plots were studied at two sites in sagebrush and two in Douglas fir Pseudotsuga menziesii forest. At each site, plots (1.25 × 5 m) were established in a block. In each block, in October 1975, three plots were clipped using a lawnmower and electric-powered sickle and three were uncut. In April 1976, three deer were fenced onto the block and their selection between plots was assessed through direct observations at intervals through the day. The same three deer were used on all blocks and observed twice/block for one day each time. In April 1977, four deer were observed, on two blocks combined, over four days.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)