The effects of forage improvement practices on Roosevelt elk in the Oregon Coast Range Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/t722hf11k

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  • Forage availability, diets, distribution, and productivity were compared for Roosevelt elk, Cervus elaphus roosevelti, using improved (i.e. seeded, fertilized, and grazed) and untreated areas of the Oregon Coast Range. Seasonal forage availability was substantially different on 1-year-old improved and untreated clearcuts, but the differences diminished by clearcut age 4 and essentially disappeared by clearcut age 7. Elk diets, as evaluated by fecal analysis, were similar in plant species composition and DAPA concentrations on both areas. There was no significant difference in estimated calf birth weights or survival, or in pregnancy and lactation rates, kidney and metatarsal marrow fat concentrations, or breeding dates of adult cows using improved and untreated areas. Summer and winter calf ratios were similar in 7 of 8 seasons sampled. There was no significant difference in home range or core area size, and distances traveled were similar on both areas in all seasons except winter. Elk exposed to summer sheep grazing were displaced an average of 1211 m (SD = 28 m) for an average of 14 weeks (SD = 5 weeks). Elk using improved areas stayed closer to forage areas in spring, but otherwise there was no significant difference in proximity to forage. Elk from both areas demonstrated preferential use of meadows, and used other forage areas in proportion to their availability. The combined results indicated that the forage improvement practices were ineffective in producing any measurable benefits for elk.
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