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.
Yasmeen Sands | EurekAlert!
Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University
New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.
In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
21.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
21.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.03.2018 | Life Sciences