Habitat use by elk (cervus elaphus) within structural stages of a managed forest of the northcentral United States
Forest Ecology and Management
Timber management is the most prominent land management activity in the Black Hills National Forest in the northcentral United States. Management units are stands 4–32 ha in size and are described using a hierarchal vegetative description including vegetation type, size class (age), and overstory canopy cover. For the most part, these stands are relatively homogeneous resulting from decades of even-aged management. Because elk (Cervus elaphus) select habitats at different scales from home ranges to microsites, it is important for managers to know how elk utilize vegetative conditions within these stands. We compared vegetative conditions at microsites selected by elk to the vegetative conditions of similarly classified stands to enable managers to better understand how timber management affects elk habitat. Within these relatively homogeneous forest stands under even-age management of the Black Hills, elk demonstrated selection for particular forest attributes. Vegetative conditions that provide cover for elk were selected for in open stands (both aspen and pine), but while in dense stands, elk selected for more open conditions. The elk hiding cover model should be adjusted for this forest.
Rumble, M.A.; Gamo, R.S. 2011. Habitat use by elk (Cervus elaphus) within structural stages of a managed forest of the northcentral United States. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 958-964.