Prescribed burning and timber harvesting have been used to restore and maintain Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (avis canadensis) ranges. Intensive study of a bighorn sheep herd in northeastern Utah indicated a need for range improvements. To evaluate the effectiveness of clear-cut logging and prescribed burning, we documented sheep responses to these treatments. Although bighorn sheep exhibited strong fidelity to pre-treatment areas (P>0.05), they significantly altered use patterns to include logged and burned areas (P<0.001). Treated habitats experienced 148% increases in bighorn sheep activity, whereas use in untreated areas declined by 45%. Bighorn sheep responded more favorably to logged units than to burned areas. We conclude that carefully planned clear-cut logging and range burning may be effective to enhance and expand bighorn sheep populations.
Additional publication details
Response of bighorn sheep to clear-cut logging and prescribed burning