Improving quality of winter forage for elk by cattle grazing

  • Published source details Anderson E.W. & Scherzinger R.J. (1975) Improving quality of winter forage for elk by cattle grazing. Journal of Range Management, 28, 120-125.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage vegetation using livestock grazing

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Manage vegetation using livestock grazing

    A before-and-after study in 1948–1974 in a predominantly grassland wildlife management area in Oregon, USA (Anderson & Scherzinger 1975) found that when cattle grazing was reintroduced, there was a mixed effect on Rocky Mountain elk Cervus canadensis abundance. Four years after cattle were first reintroduced, elk numbers (325) were similar to those before cattle reintroduction (120–500), although disturbance by snowmobiles during this period may have reduced abundance. After nine years, elk numbers (1,191) were higher than before reintroduction (120–500). In 1960 the site was designated as a wildlife management area. Cattle grazed ceased in 1960 but was reintroduced in 1965 at a rate of 340 animal unit months (AUMs – a grazing measure based on forage requirement). Cattle grazing was increased to 700 AUMs in 1967 and 900 AUMS in 1969–1974. Cattle grazing was managed to optimise forage conditions and prevent accumulation of residual unpalatable vegetation. Elk were counted from horseback, along fixed routes, five times each winter, in 1948–1974.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

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