Results of NCASI elk research incorporated in new Forest Service habitat models

The U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station has announced via news release that updated landscape models are available that “pinpoint where elk are likely to thrive.” These habitat models, for the first time, consider factors that directly influence elk population performance through nutritional pathways that affect reproductive success, growth of calves, and overwinter survival.

NCASI scientists Drs. John and Rachel Cook developed the nutritional component of the models, using tame elk that were trained from birth in northeast Oregon. The trained elk were transported by horse trailers to numerous locations representing the range of conditions available throughout westside forests. Studies were conducted to determine how elk respond to differences among sites in forage quality and abundance. 

The new elk habitat models are anticipated to influence strategic planning for active forest management.   

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