Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Energy-Protein Based Supplements Improve Decadent Sagebrush Use by Elk

Presenter Information

Justin TaylorFollow

Class

Article

Graduation Year

2018

College

S.J. & Jessie E. Quinney College of Natural Resources

Department

Wildland Resources Department

Faculty Mentor

Juan Villalba

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Energy and protein-based supplements improve decadent sagebrush use by elk

Taylor, J., Veblen, K., Thacker, E. and Villalba, J.J.

Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA

In the Intermountain West, elk (Cervus elaphus) often occur in high numbers and in some cases over-use the best quality rangeland, potentially threatening other wildlife species such as mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Many shrub-dominated communities are in late successional stages, dominated by mature even-aged shrubs with little recruitment of young plants. Elk supplementation is an attractive option for reducing competition and for rejuvenating sagebrush stands through browsing since nutrients allow ungulates to ingest a greater proportion of low-quality and secondary compound-containing woody species like sagebrush. We offered choices of high-energy (molasses) and high-protein (soybean meal) supplements presented in 4 feeders (2 feeders/supplement) to encourage elk to visit and forage an unproductive sagebrush stand. Elk preferred (2:1) molasses to soybean meal and a scan sampling technique using trail cameras revealed elk consuming supplement and browsing sagebrush on 69± 8.5 % and 40± 4.8 % of the scans recorded (N=820), respectively. Sagebrush utilization was measured in a 5 m wide belt transect within a distance of 100 m from the feeders and it was 75-100%, 50-75%, 25-50%, 5-25%, and 0-5% at 0, 40, 80 and 100 m from the feeders. In conclusion, elk supplementation is a promising strategy to rejuvenate sagebrush stands and to enhance ecosystem services in the intermountain west.

Key words: competition, browsing, preference, supplementation, sagebrush

Location

Room 208

Start Date

4-13-2017 9:00 AM

End Date

4-13-2017 10:15 AM

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Apr 13th, 9:00 AM Apr 13th, 10:15 AM

Energy-Protein Based Supplements Improve Decadent Sagebrush Use by Elk

Room 208

Energy and protein-based supplements improve decadent sagebrush use by elk

Taylor, J., Veblen, K., Thacker, E. and Villalba, J.J.

Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322, USA

In the Intermountain West, elk (Cervus elaphus) often occur in high numbers and in some cases over-use the best quality rangeland, potentially threatening other wildlife species such as mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Many shrub-dominated communities are in late successional stages, dominated by mature even-aged shrubs with little recruitment of young plants. Elk supplementation is an attractive option for reducing competition and for rejuvenating sagebrush stands through browsing since nutrients allow ungulates to ingest a greater proportion of low-quality and secondary compound-containing woody species like sagebrush. We offered choices of high-energy (molasses) and high-protein (soybean meal) supplements presented in 4 feeders (2 feeders/supplement) to encourage elk to visit and forage an unproductive sagebrush stand. Elk preferred (2:1) molasses to soybean meal and a scan sampling technique using trail cameras revealed elk consuming supplement and browsing sagebrush on 69± 8.5 % and 40± 4.8 % of the scans recorded (N=820), respectively. Sagebrush utilization was measured in a 5 m wide belt transect within a distance of 100 m from the feeders and it was 75-100%, 50-75%, 25-50%, 5-25%, and 0-5% at 0, 40, 80 and 100 m from the feeders. In conclusion, elk supplementation is a promising strategy to rejuvenate sagebrush stands and to enhance ecosystem services in the intermountain west.

Key words: competition, browsing, preference, supplementation, sagebrush