Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project


Responses of large mammals to forest restoration treatments and wildfire in the southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico

September 2011 - April 2025


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • New Mexico Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
  • SISNAR program
  • T&E Inc
  • Dallas Safari Club
  • T & E, Inc.
  • Valles Caldera National Preserve
  • UDSA Forest Service, Valles Caldera Trust
  • UDSA Forest Service, Valles Caldera NM

Decades of fire suppression, overgrazing, and logging in the western U.S. have resulted in increased tree densities, altered habitat conditions for many wildlife species, and increased risk of stand-replacing wildfires. Land managers are currently implementing landscape-scale treatments in efforts to mitigate catastrophic wildfires and to restore historical forest conditions. The goals of this project are to monitor the responses of mule deer, elk, black bear, and mountain lion to forest restoration treatments and wildfires as part of the Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Restoration Project. Specifically, we are assessing changes in forage conditions, movements, and resource selection of mule deer, elk, black bear and mountain lion in relation to prescribed fires, restoration thinning, and previous wildfires. The results of this project will allow for more informed design and implementation of restoration treatments that simultaneously mitigate wildfire risk and enhance habitat conditions for mule deer, elk, black bears and mountain lions. This research is in collaboration between the New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech University, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Jemez Pueblo, and New Mexico Department of Game and Fish.

Research Publications Publication Date
Roerick, T.M., J.W. Cain III, and J.V. Gedir. 2019. Forest restoration, wildfire and habitat selection by female mule deer. Forest Ecology and Management 447:169-179. | Download September 2019
Roberts, C.P., J.W. Cain III, and R.D. Cox. 2017. Identifying ecologically-relevant scales of habitat selection: diel habitat selection in elk. Ecosphere 8: art e02013. | Download November 2017
Roberts, C.P., J.W. Cain III, and R.D. Cox. 2016. Application of Activity Sensors for Estimating Behavioral Patterns. Wildlife Society Bulletin 40:764-771 | Download December 2016
Kindschuh, S.R., J.W. Cain III, D. Daniel and M.A. Peyton. 2016. Efficacy of GPS cluster analysis for predicting carnivory sites of a wide-ranging omnivore: the American black bear. Ecosphere 7: art e01513. | Download October 2016
Humagain, K., C. Portillo-Quintero, R.Cox, and J.W. Cain III. 2018. Estimating forest canopy cover dynamics in Valles Caldera National Preserve, New Mexico, using LiDAR and Landsat data. Applied Geography 99:120-132. | Download August 2018
Humagain, K., C. Portillo-Quintero, R. Cox, and J.W. Cain III. 2017. Mapping tree density in forests of the Southwestern USA using Landsat 8 data. Forests 8:287. | Download August 2017
Bard, S.M., and J.W. Cain III. 2020. Investigation of bed and den site selection by American black bears (Ursus americanus) in a landscape impacted by forest restoration treatments and wildfires. Forest Ecology and Management 460 Article 117904. | Download March 2020
Bard, S.M., and J.W. Cain III. 2019. Pathogen prevalence in American black bears (Ursus americanus amblyceps) of the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, USA. Journal of Wildlife Diseases 55:745-754. | Download October 2019
Technical Publications Publication Date
Cain, J.W. III, T. Roerick, and C. Roberts. 2015. Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project: Summary of work 2012-2015 for the Large Mammal Monitoring Program. Progress report to the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. September 2015
Cain, J.W. III, S. Smythe, W. Conway and G. Roemer. 2017. Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project: Large Mammal Responses to Wildfire and Landscape-Scale Forest Restoration in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, Annual Progress Report to the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. December 2017
Cain, J.W. III, S. Smythe, M. Peyton, W. Conway, J. Biggs, and G. Roemer. 2018. Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Project: Large Mammal Responses to Wildfire and Landscape-Scale Forest Restoration in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico, Annual Progress Report to the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service. December 2018
Presentations Presentation Date
​​​​Keeling, M., and J.W. Cain III. 2024. Black bear resource selection and response to wildfires and forest restoration treatments in the Jemez Mountains. Joint Annual Meeting of Arizona/New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society, Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. February 2024
White, L.M., F. Abadi, R.R. Parmenter, J.S. Lewis, and J.W. Cain III. 2022. Influence of wildfire and forest management on large mammal distribution, habitat use, and co-occurrence in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. 29th Annual Conference of The Wildlife Society, Spokane, Washington. November 2022
White, L., J.W. Cain III, F. A. Gabreselassie, J.S. Lewis, and R. Parmenter. 2021. Effects of wildfire and forest management on large mammal distribution, habitat use, and co-occurrence in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. 54th Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona/New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society, Virtual Online. February 2021
Roerick, T.M., and J.W. Cain III. 2020. Habitat selection by female mule deer in relation to prescribed fire, forest thinning and wildfires. 53rd Joint Annual Meeting of the Arizona/New Mexico Chapters of The Wildlife Society, Prescott, Arizona, USA. February 2020
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Roberts, C. 2015. Seasonal and diel elk habitat selection in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico. M.S. Thesis. Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock. 133 pp. July 2015
Kindschuh, S.R. 2015. Efficacy of GPS cluster analysis for predicting black bear carnivory sites. M.S. Thesis. Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University. Las Cruces. 73 pp. August 2015
Humagain, K. 2016. Ecological variation among vegetation cover types and forest stand dynamics in the south-west Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas Tech University, Lubbock. August 2016
Bard, S.M. 2018. Microhabitat selection and pathogen prevalence of black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Jemez Mountains, New Mexico. M.S. Thesis Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, USA. July 2018
Anaya, A.J. 2019. Mountain lion (Puma concolor) kill rates and prey composition in north-central New Mexico. Department of Natural Resources Management, New Mexico Highlands University. May 2019