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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Response of bighorn sheep to clear-cut logging and rescribed burning

Published source details

Smith T.S., Hardin P.J. & Flinders J.T. (1999) Response of bighorn sheep to clear-cut logging and rescribed burning. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 27, 840-845


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

Remove trees and shrubs to recreate open areas of land Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1986–1991 of a mixed grassland, shrubland and woodland site in Utah, USA (Smith et al. 1999) found that removing ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa and mountain mahogany Cercocarpus spp. trees increased use of these areas by Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep Ovis Canadensis. In areas where trees were removed, sheep activity increased by 165%, but in areas where no trees were cut, sheep activity declined by 45%. Across a 353-ha study area, 32% was clearcut, 49% was unmanaged and 18% was burned (results of burning treatment not present here). Sheep use patterns were assessed, before cutting or burning, from June 1986 to September 1988, by observing 25–30 radio-collared sheep daily. After burning and cutting, use was assessed in June–September 1991, by counting sheep, 62 times, from an 11-km transect.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Use prescribed burning Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1986–1991 of a mixed grassland, shrubland and woodland site in Utah, USA (Smith et al. 1999) found that prescribed burning of sagebrush-grass shrublands and pinyon-juniper woodland increased use of these areas by Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep Ovis canadensis. Use of burned areas by sheep increased by 148% and use of unmanaged areas decreased by 45%. Following burning, more sheep used the area (82 sheep groups; average of 14 sheep/group) than before burning (117 sheep groups; average of nine sheep/group). On a 353-ha study area, 18% was burned and 49% was unmanaged. Additionally, 32% was clearcut (results not presented here). Sheep-use patterns were assessed pre-treatment, from June 1986 to September 1988, by observing 25–30 radio-collared sheep daily. Post-treatment use was assessed in June–September 1991, by counting sheep 62 times from an 11-km transect.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)