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After the FiresThe Ecology of Change in Yellowstone National Park$
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Linda L. Wallace

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100488

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100488.001.0001

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Elk Biology and Ecology Before and After the Yellowstone Fires of 1988

Elk Biology and Ecology Before and After the Yellowstone Fires of 1988

(p.117) Chapter 6 Elk Biology and Ecology Before and After the Yellowstone Fires of 1988
After the Fires

Francis J. Singer

Michael B. Coughenour

Jack E. Norland

Yale University Press

This chapter describes Elk biology and ecology before and after the Yellowstone fires of 1988. Elk occupy an intermediate position in post-fire vegetal succession. The fires of 1988 in Yellowstone National Park provided a unique opportunity to study the effects of large-scale wildfire on one of the largest migratory Elk populations in North America. Several large, hot, fall fires burned about one-third of the 590,000 ha summer range and about one-quarter of the 134,000 ha winter range for Elk. It was predicted that the 1988 fires would alter elk distribution and habitat preferences, due to these changes in forages and forest cover. Elk would possibly avoid burned forests in the winter because these burned forests accumulate more snow than unburned forests and the snow will be more crusted from wind and diurnal thawing.

Keywords:   Yellowstone National Park, Elk biology, vegetal succession, large-scale wildfire

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