Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/13/2007
Publication Date: 1/26/2008
Citation: Clark, P. 2008. Using GPA-based, animal tracking systems to evaluate effects on landscape-scale disturbance on livestock distribution and activity patterns. IN: Abstracts of the 61st Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management. January 26-31, 2008. Louisville, KY. Society for Range Management, Lakewood, CO. Abstract. Interpretive Summary: Lagging technology have often limited our ability evaluate of range animal responses to disturbances such prescribed fire vegetation treatments and other management actions. We used a new, GPS-based animal tracking technology, the Clark Animal Tracking System (Clark ATS), to evaluate cattle behavioral responses to prescribed fire and predator management disturbances. Differences between pre- and post-disturbance patterns in range use and habitat-specific activities of collared beef cows were illustrated in this technology demonstration. Advancement of animal tracking technologies offer great potential to livestock producers, natural resource managers, and researchers intent on reducing livestock impacts to the environment while improving livestock productivity and profitability.
Technical Abstract: Evolving GPS-based, animal tracking technologies have now made it possible to make season-long evaluations of livestock distribution and activity patterns at very fine-scale temporal (< 60 sec) and spatial (<1 m) resolution. We used the Clark Animal Tracking System (Clark ATS) to evaluate cattle behavioral responses to prescribed fire applied in mountain big sagebrush communities to control invading western juniper. Upland and riparian use patterns of mature beef cows were evaluated using Clark ATS collars. In this demonstration, we illustrated changes in range use and habitat-specific activity patterns exhibited by collared cows tracked for 2 years pre-fire and 4 years post-fire on two different fire study areas. We also demonstrated spatial analysis techniques for classifying animal-activity types from intensively-sampled GPS location data. Additionally, modeling approaches for evaluating effects of other landscape-scale disturbances, such as predator re-introduction, on livestock range-use patterns were demonstrated.