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Research: Elk Vegetation Management Plan

Research Overview

Many scientific studies on a variety of topics related to elk populations and associated natural resources have been conducted in and/or adjacent to the park. The results from some of those studies are currently being summarized. The summary will be posted on this page when it is available.

In 1994, a joint research initiative was undertaken by the National Park Service and United States Geological Survey (USGS) Biological Resources Division. The purpose of the research was to obtain information necessary to evaluate the population dynamics and ecological effects of elk in the Rocky Mountain National Park area. Results of the research are published in the USGS Open File Report 02-208, "Ecological Evaluation of the Abundance and Effect of Elk Herbivory in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999." The contents of the report may be viewed and/or downloaded from the following link.

 
Photo cover of USGS Open File Report 02-208, "Ecological Evaluation of the Abundance and Effect of Elk Herbivory in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999."
USGS Open File Report 02-208
NPS Photo
 

References

The following bibliography is in two parts. The first part presents the citations for studies, reports, and research specific to Rocky Mountain National Park and adjacent areas. The second set of citations includes work that is relevant and related to the issues that will be addressed in the Elk and Vegetation Management Plan/EIS. The references presented here are representative of the body of information that will be used in the preparation of the plan/EIS. The final list of references cited will be published in the draft and final plan/EIS.

Research Specific to the Rocky Mountain National Park Area

Alstad, K. P., J. M. Welker, S. A. Williams, and M. J. Trlica. 1999. Carbon and water relations of Salix monticola in response to winter browsing and changes in surface water hydrology: an isotopic study using ´13C and ´18O. Oecologia 120:375-385. Also in F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Baker, W. L., J. A. Munroe, and A. E. Hessel. 1997. The effects of elk on aspen in the winter range of Rocky Mountain National Park. Ecography 20:155-165.

Bear, G. D. 1989. Seasonal distribution and population characteristics of elk in Estes Valley, Colorado. Colorado Division of Wildlife Special Report No. 65.

Bear, G. D., G. C. White, L. H. Carpenter, R. B. Gill, and D. J. Essex. 1989. Evaluation of aerial mark-resighting estimates of elk populations. Journal of Wildlife Management 53:908-915.

Benedict, J. B. 1992. Footprints in the snow: high altitude cultural ecology of the Colorado Front Range, U.S.A. Arctic and Alpine Research 24:1-16.

Benedict, J. B. 1996. The game drives of Rocky Mountain National Park. Center for Mountain Archeology Research Report No. 7.

Berry, J., D. Decker, J. Gordon, R. Heitschmidt, D. Huff, D. Knight, W. Romme, and D. Swift. 1997. Science-based assessment of vegetation management goals of elk winter range--Rocky Mountain National Park. Environment and Natural Resources Policy Institute, Colorado State University, Fort Collins. 16 pp.

Binkley, D., F. Singer, M. Kaye, and R. Rochelle. 2002. Influence of elk grazing on soil and nutrients in Rocky Mountain National Park. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Braun, C. E., D. R. Stevens, K. M. Giesen, and C. P. Melcher. 1991. Elk, white-tailed ptarmigan and willow relationships: a management dilemma in Rocky Mountain National Park. Transactions of the North American Wildlife Conference 56:74-85.

Brunswig, R. H., Jr. 2001. Lawn Lake (5LR318): results of an archaeological mitigation research project at a high altitude prehistoric site in Rocky Mountain National Park. Report on file Rocky Mountain National Park and Midwest Archeological Center, Lincoln, NE.

Brunswig, R. H., Jr., and J. Doerner. 2001. The Lawn Lake site (5LR318): new evidence for high altitude late Paleoindian adaptations and Paleolandscapes of Colorado’s southern Rockies in the early Holocene. Paper presented at the 5th Biennial Rocky Mountain Anthropological Conference, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada, September 20-23, 2001.

Buchholtz, C. W. 1983. Rocky Mountain National Park: a history. Colorado Associated University Press, Boulder.

Butler, W. B. 1997. Rocky Mountain National Park research design for archeology. Report on file Rocky Mountain National Park and Colorado State Historic Preservation Office.

Buttery, R. 1955. Range conditions and trends resulting from winter concentrations of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Capp, J. C. 1967. Competition among bighorn sheep, elk and deer in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Thesis, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Cassells, E. S. 1995. Hunting the open high country: prehistoric game driving in the Colorado alpine tundra. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Cates, R. G., J. Zou, L. Zeigenfuss, B. G. Schaalje, and F. Singer. 2002. Response of tannins and phenolics of willows to simulated herbivory, water dynamics, and ambient elk herbivory on the elk winter range of Rocky Mountain National Park. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Clarke, J. A., C. E. Olmsted, and K. Larkins. 1994. Patterns of habitat use, movement, and distribution of elk adjacent to the eastern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park. Report to the National Park Service.

Connor, J. 1993. Neotropical migrant bird survey for Rocky Mountain National Park. Rocky Mountain National Park Resource Management Series #17.

Cooper, D. J., J. Dickens, and E. Gage. 2003. Constraints on, and opportunities for, riparian willow establishment, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Report to the National Park Service.

Cooper, D. J., S. W. Woods, R. A Chimner, and L. H. MacDonald. 2000. Effects of the Grand Ditch on wetlands of the Kawuneeche Valley, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Report to the National Park Service.

Cottrell, T. R. 1993. The comparative ecology of Salix planifolia and Salix monticola in Rocky Mountain National Park. Dissertation, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Cottrell, T. R. 1995. Willow colonization of Rocky Mountain mires. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 25:215-222.

Coughenour, M. B. 2002. Elk in the Rocky Mountain National Park ecosystem – a model based assessment. Report to the National Park Service.

Coughenour, M. B. 2002. Executive summary of model-based assessment of elk in the Rocky Mountain National Park ecosystem. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Denney, R. N., R. J. Boyd, E. Bucknall, W. Schuett, P. F. Gilbert, J. Cooney, L. D. Hibbs, G. D. Bear, and R. B. Gill. 1967. Research project segment: elk seasonal movements, Rocky Mountain National Park. Job Completion Report (State of Colorado).

Dixon, J. S. 1939. Special report on the elk problem at Rocky Mountain National Park. Report to the National Park Service.

Ehle, D. S. 2001. Spatial and temporal patterns of disturbance and ponderosa pine forest structure in Rocky Mountain National Park. Thesis, University of Wyoming, Laramie.

Estes, M. 1939. The memoirs of Estes Park. Reprint of 1939 Colorado Magazine article.

Fryxell, F. M. 1928. The former range of the bison in the Rocky Mountains. Journal of Mammalogy 9:129-139.

Grater, R. K. 1945. Report on the elk-deer reduction program of 1944-1945 at Rocky Mountain National Park. National Park Service Report.

Griggs, R. F. 1956. Competition and succession on a Rocky Mountain fellfield. Ecology 37:8-20.

Guse, N. G., Jr. 1966. An administrative history of and elk herd. Thesis, Colorado State University, Ft. Collins.

Gysel, L. W. 1960. An ecological study of the winter range of elk and mule deer in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Journal of Forestry 58:696-703.

Harrington, F. A. 1978. Ecological segregation of ungulates in alpine and subalpine communities. Dissertation, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Hess, K., Jr. 1993. Rocky times in Rocky Mountain National Park. University Press of Colorado, Niwot.

Hickman, S. D. 1964. A beaver census of Moraine Park, Rocky Mountain National Park. Unpublished professional paper, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Hobbs, N. T. 1996. Modification of ecosystems by ungulates. Journal of Wildlife Management. 60:695-713.

Hobbs, N. T., D. L. Baker, J. E. Ellis, and D. M. Swift. 1981. Composition and quality of elk winter diets in Colorado. Journal of Wildlife Management 45:156-171.

Hobbs, N. T., D. L. Baker, J. E. Ellis, D. M. Swift, and R. A. Green. 1982. Energy- and nitrogen-based estimates of elk winter-range carrying capacity. Journal of Wildlife Management 46:12-21.

Jarrett, R. D., and J. E. Costa. 1993. Hydrology and geomorphology of the 1982 Lawn Lake dam failure, Colorado. Pages 1-17 in H. E. McCutchen, R. Herrmann, and D. R. Stevens, eds. Ecological effects of the Lawn Lake Flood of 1982, Rocky Mountain National Park. Scientific Monograph NPS/NRROMO/NRSM-93/21.

Kiener, W. 1939. Sociological studies of the alpine vegetation on Longs Peak. Dissertation, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Larkins, K. F. 1997. Patterns of elk movement and distribution in and adjacent to the eastern boundary of Rocky Mountain National Park. Thesis, University of Northern Colorado, Greeley.

Leukering, T., and M. Carter. 1999. Abundance and nesting success of common breeding birds in willow riparian areas in Rocky Mountain National Park. Report to the National Park Service.

Lloyd, J. 1997. The effect of elk herbivory on vegetation and songbirds of aspen communities in Rocky Mountain National Park. Report to the National Park Service.

Lubow, B. C., F. J. Singer, T. L. Johnson, and D. C. Bowden. 2002. Dynamics of interacting elk populations within and adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park. Journal of Wildlife Management 66:757-775. Also in F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Mast, J. N., T. T. Veblen, and Y. B. Linhart. 1998. Disturbance and climatic influences on age structure of ponderosa pine at the pine/grassland ecotone, Colorado Front Range. Journal of Biogeography 25:743-755.

May, T. A., and C. E. Braun. 1972. Seasonal foods of adult white-tailed ptarmigan in Colorado. Journal of Wildlife Management 36:1180-1186.

Menezes, R. S. C., E. T. Elliot, D. W. Valentine, and S. A. Williams. 2002. Effects of herbivory and proximity to surface water on C and N dynamics on the elk winter range in Rocky Mountain National Park. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Menezes, R. S. C., E. T. Elliot, and J. M. Welker. 2002. Isotopic evidence of the effects of herbivory and landscape position on plant nitrogen sources in a riparian ecosystem. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Menezes, R. S. C., E. T. Elliot, D. W. Valentine, and S. A. Williams. 2001. Carbon and nitrogen dynamics in elk winter ranges. Journal of Range Management 54:400-408.

Nesvacil, K., and C. E. Olmsted. The effects of prescribed fire and ungulate herbivory 6 and 7 years post-burn in the upland bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) communities of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Proceedings - 2002 Fire Conference: Managing Fire and Fuels in the Remaining Wildlands and Open Spaces of the Southwest, December 2-5, 2002, San Diego, California. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report: in press.

Olmsted, C.E. 1997. Twenty years of change in Rocky Mountain National Park elk winter range aspen. Report to the National Park Service.

Olmsted, C.E. 1979. The ecology of aspen with reference to utilization by large herbivores in Rocky Mountain National Park. Pages 89-97 in M. S. Boyce and L. D. Hayden-Wing, eds. North American elk: ecology, behavior and management. University of Wyoming Press, Laramie.

Packard, F. M. 1946. An ecological study of the bighorn sheep in Rocky Mountain National Park. Journal of Mammalogy 27:3-28.

Packard, F. M. 1947. A survey of the beaver population of Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Journal of Mammalogy 28:219-227.

Peinetti. H. R. 2000. Riparian willow dynamics and their interaction with environmental and biological factors in the elk winter range of Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) – a multi-scale analysis. Dissertation, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Peinetti, H. R., M. A. Kalkhan, and M. B. Coughenour. 2002. Long-term changes in willow spatial distribution on the elk winter range of Rocky Mountain National Park (USA). Landscape Ecology: 17:341-354. Also in F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Peinetti, H. R., R. S. C. Menezes, and M. B. Coughenour. 2001. Changes induced by elk browsing in the aboveground biomass production and distribution of willow (Salix monticola Bebb): their relationships with plant water, carbon, and nitrogen dynamics. Oecologia 127:334-342. Also in F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Ratcliff, H. M. 1941a. Winter range conditions in Rocky Mountain National Park. Transactions of the North American Wildlife Conference 6:132-139.

Schell, L. D., and T. J. Stohlgren. 1997. Effect of elk grazing on native and non-native plant species diversity in Beaver Meadows. Final report to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Schoenecker, K. A., F. J. Singer, R. S. C. Menezes, L. C. Zeigenfuss, and D. Binkley. 2002. Sustainability of vegetation communities grazed by elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Simonson, S. E., P. A. Opler, T. J. Stohlgren, and G. W. Chong. 2001. Rapid assessment of butterfly diversity in a montane landscape. Biodiversity and Conservation 10:1369-1386.

Singer, F. J., and L. C. Zeigenfuss. 2002. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk herbivory in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. Final report to the National Park Service, Rocky Mountain National Park on Cooperative Agreement No. 1445-0009-94-1074 (USGS) Subagreement 2 between the National Park Service, Biological Resources Discipline, of U.S. Geological Survey, and Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Singer, F. J., L. C. Zeigenfuss, B. Lubow, and M. J. Rock. 2002. Ecological evaluation of potential overabundance of ungulates in U.S. National Parks: A case study. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Singer, F. J., L. C. Zeigenfuss, R. G. Cates, and D. T. Barnett. 1998a. Elk, multiple factors, and persistence of willows in national parks. Wildlife Society Bulletin 26:419-428.

Sprague, A. E. 1925. Game more plentiful now than 50 years ago in Estes Park region. Estes Park Trail, June 5, 1925.

Stevens, D.R. 1980a. The deer and elk of Rocky Mountain National Park; A 10-year study. National Park Service Report ROMO-N-13.

Stevens, D. R. 1980b. Impact of elk on alpine tundra in Rocky Mountain National Park. Proceedings of High Altitude Vegetation Workshop 4:228-244.

Stohlgren, T. J., L. D. Schell, and B. V. Heuvel. 1999. How grazing and soil quality affect native and exotic plant diversity in Rocky Mountain grasslands. Ecological Applications 9:45-64.

Suzuki, K., H. Suzuki, D. Binkley, and T. J. Stohlgren. 1999. Aspen regeneration in the Colorado Front Range: differences at local and landscape scales. Landscape Ecology 14:231-237.

Toll, O. W. 1962. Arapaho names and trails: a report of a 1914 pack trip. Privately published.

Turchi, G. M., P. L. Kennedy, D. Urban, and D. Hein. 1994. Bird species richness in relation to isolation of aspen habitats. Wilson Bulletin 107:463-474.

Veblen, T. T., T. Kitzberger, and J. Donnegan. 2000. Climatic and human influences on fire regimes in ponderosa pine forests in the Colorado Front Range. Ecological Applications 10:1178-1195.

Veblen, T. T., and D. C. Lorenz. 1991. The Colorado Front Range: a century of ecological change. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.

Weisberg, P.J., and M. B. Coughenour. Model-based assessment of aspen responses to elk herbivory in Rocky Mountain National Park, U.S.A. Journal of Environmental Management: in press.

Willard, B. E. 1963. Phytosociology of the alpine tundra of Trail Ridge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Dissertation, University of Colorado, Boulder.

Wright, G. M., J. S. Dixon, and B. H. Thompson. 1933. Fauna of the National Parks of the United States: a preliminary survey of faunal relations in National Parks. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C.

Zaninelli, J., and T. Leukering. 1998. Aspen: a critical component of cavity-nesting bird habitat in Rocky Mountain National Park. Report to the National Park Service.

Zeigenfuss. L. C., F. J. Singer, S. A. Williams, and T. L. Johnson. 2002. Factors influencing plant productivity in shrub communities on elk winter range of Rocky Mountain National Park: experiments on elk herbivory, water availability, and burning. In F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Zeigenfuss, L. C., F. J. Singer, and D. Bowden. 1999. Vegetation responses to natural regulation of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park. Biological Science Report USGS/BRD/BSR—1999-0003. U.S. Government Printing Office, Denver, Colorado. Also in F. J. Singer, ed. Ecological evaluation of the abundance and effects of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, 1994-1999. USGS Open File Report 02-208.

Zeigenfuss, L. C., F. J. Singer, S. Williams, and T. Johnson. 2002. Influences of herbivory and water on willow in elk winter range. Journal of Wildlife Management 66:788-795.


Related Research

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plains ungulates in Etosha National Park, Namibia: testing the food-regulating hypothesis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 74: 1556-1572.

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