Date of this Version
Historically, Roosevelt elk (Cervus elaphus roosevelti) were distributed from northern California to southern British Columbia in the coastal Pacific Northwest. During the Pleistocene, the subspecies was isolated reproductively from the Rocky Mountain elk (C. e. nelsoni) to the east by the Cascade Mountain Range and by glaciation (Guthrie 1966). Thus Roosevelt elk have adapted to relatively moist forest habitats with maritime climates, while Rocky Mountain elk evolved under the continental climate of the interior.
Unfortunately, less is known of Roosevelt elk biology than of the closely related Rocky Mountain elk east of the Cascades. This has frequently resulted in generalization of Rocky Mountain elk research findings to management of Roosevelt elk. However, differing evolutionary histories may have resulted in significant differences in the two subspecies' behavior, physiology, and habitat requirements. It may be improper to manage Roosevelt elk as if they are Rocky Mountain elk.
Wood products production is one of the most important industries within the range of the Roosevelt elk; opportunities for conflict between elk and forest management are numerous. Our objectives are to postulate probable primeval Roosevelt elk-habitat relationships, to describe contemporary elk habitats and impacts of forest management on elk, and to discuss areas of compromise and cooperation between wildlife and forest managers.