The University of Arizona

Elk forage utilization within rested units of rest-rotation grazing systems.

S.J. Werner, P.J. Urness


Elk (Cervus elaphus) have been repeatedly observed to prefer rested units within rest-rotation grazing systems. Given the logistical and financial investments associated with the maintenance of these systems, elk herbivory within rested units is a potential source of conflict. Elk forage utilization was determined during the summers of 1994 and 1995 at the forest-grassland ecotone of 3 rest-rotation grazing allotments in south-central Utah's Fishlake National Forest. Average phytomass within areas protected from and subjected to elk herbivory was not statistically different in June and August 1994. Average phytomass within caged areas was greater (P < 0.20) than that within areas subjected to elk use in 2 of 3 rested units in June-July 1995 (14.1 and 35.6% utilization) and August 1995 (34.7 and 42.0% utilization). June-to-August forage regrowth, however, was 31.3 and 33.0% greater in 1995 than in 1994 within caged and uncaged areas, respectively.


animal husbandry;Cervus elaphus;rotational grazing;browsing damage;cattle;wildlife management;biomass;range management;browsing

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