Over its decade-plus of operations, the ABMI has generated a comprehensive dataset on Alberta’s species, their habitats, and the extent and type of human footprint across the province. With this information, the ABMI has developed analyses to predict species' relative abundances and examine species' responses to vegetation and soil types, as well as human footprint in Alberta. These methods have been applied to hundreds of species; this profile provides summary results for one.
Elk are typically associated with open mixed wood forests and grasslands but habitat preference varies throughout the year. Males will gather "harems" of females in open valley bottoms and forest openings during the autumn rut.
Forested Region - Species Habitat Association Graph: Predicted species relative abundance (bars) as a function of vegetation and human footprint type in the forested region. Dots are added to forest types where harvesting occurs and show the predicted species abundance in cutblocks of various ages. Vertical lines represent 90% confidence intervals.
Linear Footprint Graph: Species relative abundance predicted for habitat with no human footprint compared to habitat in which 10% of the area is converted to either soft or hard linear footprint.
If it is not possible to create complex habitat association models for species, we present a coarse index of habitat use which represents the proportion of detections in each native vegetation, soil, and human footprint type in comparison to the proportional availability of the habitat types.
Use-availability index graph: Index of species habitat use based on the proportion of species detections in each native vegetation and human footprint type in comparison to the habitat availability. The index (bars) range from -1 (avoidance) to +1 (preference), given availability of a particular vegetation or human footprint type.
Elk are adapted to open areas and forest clearings so are tolerant of moderate human habitat alteration. However, human activity can facilitate predator access affecting Elk habitat use and population abundance.
Sector effect graph: Changes to species relative abundance (number above or below bar) attributed to the footprint of five sectors: agriculture, forestry, energy, rural/urban footprint, and transportation. The y-axis shows the percent population change per unit area of the sector's footprint. The x-axis shows the total area occupied by each sector's footprint in the region. The areas of the sector-specific rectangle (equal to the unit effect multiplied by the area of footprint) is the total effect of the sector on the species relative abundance in the region.
Elk are found throughout the forested region of southern Alberta, particularly in the Foothills Natural Region, and rarely in the north of the Boreal Forest Natural Region.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Government of Alberta. 2010. Elk (Cervus elaphus). http://esrd.alberta.ca/fish-wildlife/wild-species/mammals/deer/elk.aspx. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Eder, T. and G. Kennedy, 2011. Mammals of Canada. Edmonton, AB: Lone Pine Publishing.
Hebblewhite, M., C.A. White, C.G. Nietvelt, J.A. McKenzie, T.E. Hurd, J.M. Fryxell, S.E. Bayley, and P.C. Paquet. 2005. Human activity mediates a trophic cascade caused by wolves. Ecology 86(8):2135-2144.
Smith, H.C.,R.I. Hastings and J.A. Burns. 1993. Alberta Mammals: An Atlas and Guide. Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alberta.
Van Tighem, K. 2001. Elk & Deer: Antlered Animals of the West. Altitude Publishing Canada, Canmore, AB.
Data collected by ABMI.
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2019. Elk (wapiti) (Cervus elaphus). ABMI Website: abmi.ca/home/data-analytics/biobrowser-home/species-profile?tsn=180695.
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2016. ABMI Species Website Manual, Version: 2016-12-02. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Manual for Species Modeling and Intactness, Version 2014-09-25. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.
Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. 2014. Terrestrial field data collection protocols (abridged version) 2016-05-18. Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute, Alberta, Canada. Report available at: abmi.ca.
Download ABMI Species and Habitat Data.
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