New Montana policy could end annual bison slaughter
Wild bison in the Greater Yellowstone area will have more room to roam, as Montana Governor Steve Bullock this week agreed to expand year-round habitat for wild bison in Montana outside Yellowstone National Park.
Study indicates drought and predation is affecting reproduction
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Yellowstone’s migratory elk have been feeling the impacts of drought and increased predation by wolves and grizzlies – two landscape-level changes with broad implications for conservation of migratory animals, according to a new study published in the journal Ecology.
FRISCO — A long-running battle over Yellowstone bison was at least partly resolved this week, as a Montana judge upheld a state policy allowing the animals to roam outside Yellowstone National Park without facing harassment and death.
The state rules were challenged by ranchers opposed to allowing bison to graze in the Gardiner Basin, just north of the park, important habitat in the winter and early spring. Federal and state biologists decided last year to allow bison seasonal access until May 1 of each year, opening critical foraging lands when higher elevations in the park lack spring grasses for bison and other grazing animals.
FRISCO —Bark beetles have already killed millions of acres of mid-elevation forests across the West, and warming temperatures are enabling the tree-killing bugs to invade higher elevations, where they are attacking trees that haven’t evolved with strong defenses to repel them.
Increasing temps and fire frequency could drive rapid and dramatic changes in subalpine and boreal forests
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Warmer temperatures in the West will increase the frequency of fires in Yellowstone’s vast lodgepole pine stands, which could result in dramatic changes to the region’s forest landscapes in the next few decades.
“What surprised us about our results was the speed and scale of the projected changes in fire in Greater Yellowstone,” said Anthony Westerling, a professor of environmental engineering and geography at University of California, Merced. “We expected fire to increase with increased temperatures, but we did not expect it to increase so much or so quickly. We were also surprised by how consistent the changes were across different climate projections.”