Predation Risk and Elk-Aspen Foraging Patterns
Proceedings Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest-Service
W.D. Shepperd, D. Binkley, D.L. Bartos, T.J. Stohlgren, L.G. Eskew
Sustaining aspen in western landscapes: symposium proceedings, Grand Junction, Colorado, USA, June 13-15, 2000
Elk-aspen foraging patterns may be influenced by cover type, distance from roads or trails, the type of user on road or trail (park visitor, human hunter, or predator), and two general states of aspen condition (open-grown or thicket). Pellet group and browse utilization transects in the Canadian Rockies showed that elk were attracted to roads used by park visitors and avoided by wolves, and that elk possibly avoided aspen and conifer patches near backcountry trails used by wolves. In high predation risk landscapes, aspen stands were dense, lightly browsed, and rarely entered by elk. As risk decreased, elk density and aspen browsing increased proportionally faster on edges of aspen stands compared to the interior of aspen stands. In low risk landscapes, edge and interior plots were intensively used, and stands had a low density of heavily browsed stems. Regeneration of aspen stands likely requires low densities of risk-sensitive elk.
White, C.A. and Feller, M.C. 2001. Predation risk and elk-aspen foraging patterns. Proceedings Rocky Mountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service. Sustaining Aspen in Western Landscapes: Symposium Proceedings, Grand Junction CO, USA. No.RMRS-P-18. 61-80.