Impacts of fire and elk herbivory in the montane ecoregion of Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): B. D. Amiro; W. J. de Groot; P. M. Bothwell; A. L. Westhaver; P. L. Achuff
Editor(s): R. T. Engstrom; K. E.M. Galley; W. J. de Groot
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • air temperature
  • Alberta
  • Alberta
  • Anemone multifida
  • Antennaria parvifolia
  • Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
  • Astragalus dasyglottis
  • Canada
  • Cervus
  • Cervus elaphus
  • Cervus elaphus
  • cover
  • cover type conversion
  • crown fires
  • diameter classes
  • droughts
  • duff
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • Elaphus
  • elk
  • Elymus innovatus
  • exclosures
  • fine fuels
  • fire exclusion
  • fire intensity
  • fuel moisture
  • Gentianella
  • grasslands
  • ground cover
  • herbivory
  • herbivory
  • humidity
  • Jasper National Park
  • Koeleria macrantha
  • landscape ecology
  • Linum lewisii
  • low intensity burns
  • montane
  • montane forests
  • mortality
  • mosses
  • national parks
  • Pinus contorta
  • plant communities
  • Populus tremuloides
  • predators
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii
  • radiation
  • rate of spread
  • regeneration
  • sampling
  • seedlings
  • Shepherdia canadensis
  • shrubs
  • Solidago spathulata
  • statistical analysis
  • surface fires
  • tree mortality
  • trees
  • Viola canadensis
  • wildlife habitat management
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 42487
Tall Timbers Record Number: 17567
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Tall Timbers shelf
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Complex interactions exist among ungulates, predators, humans, and vegetation in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. Fire and herbivory are key parts of the interactions among these ecosystem components. Significant increases in human use, exclusion of fire, and thriving populations of elk (Cervus elaphus) within the montane region are impacting the ecological integrity of this vital area. Prescribed fire is being used to help restore ecosystem structure and natural processes with the goal of maintaining a landscape of open-canopy lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forest and grassland. As part of this management activity, the impact of prescribed burning, elk herbivory, and elk-fire interactions on the montane vegetation are being measured.Permanent vegetation plots were established in 1998, some of which involved fenced exclosures to exclude elk. Plots were placed in unburned control areas and in an 80-ha area burned in the spring of 1999, representing both closed forest canopy and open forest-grassland sites. The prescribed fire was lit as lines using hand torches, and fire behavior was measured in these plots. Pre- and post-burn vegetation sampling included measurements of tree height, condition, and diameter at breast height; shrub height and crown diameter; and ground cover vegetation percent cover by species. About two-thirds of the pine trees were killed, and mortality estimates were in the range of model predictions. Almost all of the shrubs were burned, but Canada buffaloberry (Shepherdia canadensis) is regenerating. Little impact on ground cover[,] vegetation cover and phytodiversity has been detected, but this may change as the tree canopy opens up and the solar radiation environment changes. Vegetation recovery is being monitored annually, although a few more years may be needed to detect the full impact of fire and elk interactions. The information is being used to evaluate the success of prescribed burning as an ecosystem management tool in this ecoregion. © 2004, Tall Timbers Research, Inc.

Amiro, B. D., W. J. de Groot, P. M. Bothwell, A. L. Westhaver, and P. L. Achuff. 2004. Impacts of fire and elk herbivory in the montane ecoregion of Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, in Engstrom, R. T., Galley, K. E. M., and de Groot, W. J., Proceedings 22nd Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in temperate, boreal, and montane ecosystems. Kananaskis Village, Alberta, Canada.Edmonton, Alberta, Canada [Imperial Printing Ltd.]. xii, 333 p., p. 258-264,