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Aspen persistence near the National Elk Refuge and Gros Ventre Valley elk feedgrounds of Wyoming, USA

Landscape Ecology

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and ORCID iD
https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013158511225

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Abstract

We investigated aspen (Populus tremuloides)regeneration in the Gros Ventre River Valley, the National Elk Refuge and a small part of Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA to see if elk (Cervus elaphus) browsing was as damaging as previously thought. We conducted a landscape-scale survey to assess aspen regeneration across gradients of wintering elk concentrations using 68 randomly selected aspen stands in the 1090 km2 study area. Forty-four percent of the stands sampled supported some newer regeneration that had reached the canopy. There were no significant differences of regeneration across elk winter range classification (p=0.25) or distance from feedgrounds (p=0.96). However, a multiple linear regression found that the concentration of elk was one of several important predictors of successful aspen regeneration (p=0.005, R2=0.36). Our results suggest that stand-replacing regeneration occurs across the landscape at a variety of elk densities despite some trends of reduced regeneration under greater elk concentrations. We propose that high spatial and temporal variation and scattered patches of successful aspen regeneration characterize aspen persistence between periods of episodic regeneration and recruitment.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Aspen persistence near the National Elk Refuge and Gros Ventre Valley elk feedgrounds of Wyoming, USA
Series title:
Landscape Ecology
DOI:
10.1023/A:1013158511225
Volume:
16
Issue:
6
Year Published:
2001
Language:
English
Publisher:
Springer
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
Description:
12 p.
First page:
569
Last page:
580