Response of bighorn sheep to clear-cut logging and prescribed burning
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): Thomas S. Smith; Perry J. Hardin; Jerran T. Flinders
Publication Year: 1999

Cataloging Information

  • bighorn sheep
  • clearcut logging
  • Dendroctonus ponderosae
  • fire
  • grassland
  • grazing
  • habitat improvement
  • mountain pine beetle
  • Ovis canadensis
  • pyric herbivory
  • Utah
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: November 12, 2015
FRAMES Record Number: 18040


Prescribed burning and timber harvesting have been used to restore and maintain Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep (Ovis 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.

Online Link(s):
Smith, Tom S.; Hardin, Perry J.; Flinders, Jerran T. 1999. Response of bighorn sheep to clear-cut logging and prescribed burning. Wildlife Society Bulletin 27(3):840-845.