Elk are not necessarily the best friends of foresters seeking to grow stands of Douglas fir to eventually sell in the timber market. However, new research shows, in some conditions, that hungry elk and deer allow the young trees to grow because they focus their taste buds on competing alder and maple.
“What we expected, since deer and elk are often considered plantation pests, is that if we sprayed the broadleaf vegetation and removed their forage initially, they’d do more browsing on crop trees,” Thomas Stokely, researcher, told technology.org. “And we thought that if we left the broadleaf vegetation untreated, by eating all of those trees and shrubs they’d perform an ecosystem service and actually promote crop tree growth. What we found was the opposite.”
Go here to read more about the study.
(Photo source: Oregon State University College of Forestry)