Document Type

Yellowstone National Park Report

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There is substantial observational evidence suggesting positive interactions among fire, vegetation and large mammalian herbivores within Yellowstone National Park. The purpose of this research project is to quantify these potential interactions and explain their interactive effects on ecosystem processes (e.g. nutrient cycling). The basic study design utilizes burned areas from the 1988 fires with adjacent unburned areas to comparatively quantify ecosystem process information. Two paired study sites were chosen in three locations (Hellroaring Slope, Swan Lake Flat and Hayden Valley) representing winter, transitional and summer range for portions of the Northern elk herd. All study sites can be characterized as mesic sagebrush steppe dominated by the grasses Festuca idahoensis and Agropryron spp.