Managing For Roosevelt Elk Browse

Managing For Roosevelt Elk Browse

Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) are a coastal species that foresters manage habitat and food sources for during forest planning and operations. Free-growing obligations must also be met when harvesting in areas where Roosevelt elk are dominant.[1]

Estimated distribution and population density of Roosevelt elk in British Columbia.

Silvicultural strategies, including planting, can impact the incidence of Roosevelt elk and the damage that elk can have when browsing on newly planted trees. Some of the following may be considered by forest managers preparing to plant in areas where Roosevelt elk are prominent:

• Western redcedar is the most susceptible conifer to elk browse, although elk will browse most
other conifer species including Douglas-fir and western hemlock.

• Nursery seedlings are especially susceptible to browse because of their high nutrient content;
therefore, provide protection (planting in cones/natural features or other diverse seedlings in same seedling plug) for at least 2 years after planting. Established trees are more
able to withstand browsing and usually recover in the following year.

• Trees planted along elk trails are particularly susceptible to antler rubbing damage.

• Planting large Douglas-fir stocktypes (512 to 615) should allow crop trees to grow above
browse height after 2–3 years.

• Plant seedlings in deep loamy soil wherever possible.

• Plant seedlings in late spring (to avoid the period of most heavy browsing) in clusters or
against stumps. Grand fir is much less attractive to the elk and could be planted if acceptable,
though this may not be appropriate because of the risk posed to the fir by woolly adelgid For more information about managing for Roosevelt elk browse, see A Management Plan For Roosevelt Elk in British Columbia:

[1] Henigman, J., J. Turner, and K. Swift. 2005. Coast Forest Region: Roosevelt elk Wildlife Habitat Decision Aid

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