Great Basin Naturalist


We examined winter nutritional quality of current-year bud and stem tissues from burned and unburned stands of Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii Nutt.). Nutritional analyses were based on the amount of forage consumed by wintering mule deer. Deer use along the Utah Valley foothills averaged 6.25–10.7 cm of current-year growth. Of the tissues examined, post-fire bud tissue had the highest nutrient content, with a mean of 9.51% crude protein, 0.19% phosphorus, and 34.0% in vitro digestibility. Composite values (bud + stem) for unburned stands were slightly higher in crude protein and phosphorus and lower in digestibility than those reported in previous studies. Nutrient values from burned stands were significantly higher than those of unburned stands for all three measures. Tannin content of the burned-area regrowth was also higher. Overall forage value of Gambel oak to wintering mule deer is relatively low.