A Nutrition-Based Approach for Elk Habitat Management on Intensively Managed Forestlands
Management and Policy Implications Our EFI approach is intended as one of many variables to guide harvest management for the Tribe's 100-year forest plan. Timber harvest patterns often produce periods of surplus and deficits in big game forage needs. The spatial distribution of big game habitat resources is often clumped, a pattern created by historical harvest patterns that were based on ease of access and stand age. EFI integrates curvilinear relationships among forest cover, hardwoods, and forest zone into an index that can be used to assess the nutritional value of an area to elk, and help managers evaluate the effects of timber harvests. A goal is to reduce fluctuations in forage resources to generate a managed landscape that can support stable elk numbers. We partition the Tribe's forest into analysis areas based on known elk movements and distribution, and then use the EFI to inform the redistribution of clearcuts on the Forest. The EFI can be among many constraints in a decision model to meet owner objectives. Treatments to improve elk nutrition and increase EFI include modification of overhead canopy such as clearcutting or thinning or promoting diverse hardwood stands. Managers have the flexibility to diversify stand arrangement based on other harvest and management goals.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: September 25, 2017
This article was made available online on January 26, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "A Nutrition-Based Approach for Elk Habitat Management on Intensively Managed Forestlands".