Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Modeling study identifies characteristics of high elk-use areas in western Oregon, Washington

Date:
October 21, 2010
Source:
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station
Summary:
The availability of highly nutritious forage is one of four factors linked to the presence of elk populations in western Oregon and Washington, according to a modeling study recently completed by scientists from the US Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station. Findings from the two-year study will be used to update land management planning for the ecologically and economically important ungulate in the region.

A cow elk is shown participating in a grazing trial in the Northwest.
Credit: Rachel Cook

The availability of highly nutritious forage is one of four factors linked to the presence of elk populations in western Oregon and Washington, according to a modeling study recently completed by scientists from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station. Findings from the two-year study will be used to update land management planning for the ecologically and economically important ungulate in the region.

"Habitat models like the one we developed are critical to managing elk populations, particularly since current management practices are based on decades-old research and are in the process of being updated to reflect new science," said Mary Rowland, a wildlife biologist at the station's La Grande Forestry and Range Sciences Laboratory and one of the study's principal investigators. "Findings from our modeling go a long way in explaining where in western Oregon and Washington elk populations are most likely to thrive."

Rowland and colleagues used a nutrition model based on elk grazing trials that predicts dietary digestible energy (DDE), a variable that represents nutrition levels based on plant community types. The model was developed by John and Rachel Cook, biologists with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, and measures DDE during the summer -- a crucial time for elk that ultimately impacts their survival and reproduction rates. The model can also be used to generate maps depicting areas of the landscape that offer the greatest nutritional resources and the effects of forest management on nutrition levels.

The scientists then used DDE predictions in combination with over 50 additional model variables to investigate actual patterns of elk habitat use in western Oregon and Washington. By using radiotelemetry locations of elk, primarily from tribal sources, from five years across three study areas, Rowland and her colleagues identified four variables that consistently provided the most support for observed habitat selection patterns of elk -- DDE, distance to roads open to public access, percent slope, and distance to cover-forage edge. The new elk habitat model was then validated by comparing its output to radiotelemetry observations from five additional study sites.

"Our results were extremely encouraging, with close matches seen between predicted elk use from the model and locations of elk in the study areas," said Mike Wisdom, a PNW Station research wildlife biologist, also in La Grande, who initiated the project. "This information can help set goals for changing elk use in certain areas and guiding management prescriptions for elk habitat."

This fall, biologists with the Forest Service's Pacific Northwest Region, the Oregon and Washington State Office of the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe will be testing the elk habitat model and providing feedback to the researchers.

Rowland and her colleagues are planning to expand their modeling effort to southwest Oregon beginning next year.

The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Modeling study identifies characteristics of high elk-use areas in western Oregon, Washington." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021165241.htm>.
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. (2010, October 21). Modeling study identifies characteristics of high elk-use areas in western Oregon, Washington. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021165241.htm
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. "Modeling study identifies characteristics of high elk-use areas in western Oregon, Washington." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101021165241.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins