Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

The effect of broadcast burning on the quality of winter forage for elk, westen Oregon Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/pr76f744h

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  • The Roosevelt elk (Cervus elephus roosevelti) is a National Forest management indicator species on the westside of the Cascade mountains, Western Oregon. A Habitat Effectiveness model is used by State and Federal agencies to evaluate elk habitat in the region. Concerns about the model's lack of differentiation between winter and summer ranges in the analyses and assumptions that burning will increase forage quality on winter range prompted this study. I investigated the effect of broadcast burning, plant association, and time since disturbance on the quality of trailing blackberry (Rubus ulna), red huckleberry (Vaccinium parviflorum), willow (Salix spp.), vine maple (Acer circinatum), salal (Gaultheria shallon), and red elderberry (Sambucus racemosa). Crude protein, neutral detergent fiber, acid detergent fiber, acid insoluble ash, lignin, astringency, condensed tannin, and hydrolyzable tannin contents were measured. No significant effects of burning, plant association, or age were observed for crude protein, hydrolyzable tannins, or neutral detergent fiber. Crude protein varied among taxa: trailing blackberry contained 9.65%, and the other taxa ranged from 5.21-7.24%. Neutral detergent fiber was highly variable: trailing blackberry contained 30.90%, and the other taxa ranged from 52.20%-65.06%. Acid detergent fiber content ranged from 44.88%-49.49% for all taxa except trailing blackberry (17.78%). Lignin varied among taxa: trailing blackberry had the lowest content (6.37%) and salal had the highest (30.25%). Lignin content in salal was greater on recently disturbed sites. Astringency ranged from 0.0015 mg protein precipitated per mg plant tissue in vine maple to 0.6737 in trailing blackberry. Salal and willow had intermediate astringencies: elderberry, huckleberry, and vine maple had the lowest. Hydrolyzable tannins were present in all species except red elderberry. Burning and plant association effected astringency and condensed tannin content in trailing blackberry and huckleberry. Samples from burned, very dry and resource-poor sites had higher astringencies than on similar unburned units and non-resource-limiting sites. Condensed tannin contents increased with unit age in salal, huckleberry, and trailing blackberry, possibly accumulating during peak years of re-establishment after disturbance. Vine maple and red huckleberry were the only taxa with positive digestible protein levels. Digestible protein content may be higher in winter forage on less severe sites. Elk forage enhancement in winter range should be evaluated on a site-specific basis. Burning did not promote a detectable increase in quality for these forage taxa, and it decreased the quality of species sensitive to site conditions.
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