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The distribution of the greater sage-grouse (hereafter sage-grouse; Centrocercus urophasianus) has declined to 56% of its pre-settlement distribution (Schroeder et al. 2004) and abundance of males attending leks has decreased substantially over the past 50 years throughout the species’ range (Garton et al. 2011, Garton et al. 2015, WAFWA 2015). Livestock grazing is a common land use within sage-grouse habitat, and livestock grazing has been implicated by some experts as one of numerous factors contributing to sage-grouse population declines (Beck and Mitchell 2000, Schroeder et al. 2004). However, there are also numerous mechanisms by which livestock grazing might benefit sage-grouse (Beck and Mitchell 2000, Crawford...
The Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy (hereafter Strategy, DOI 2015) outlined the need for coordinated, science-based adaptive management to achieve long-term protection, conservation, and restoration of the sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystem. A key component of this management approach is the identification of knowledge gaps that limit implementation of effective strategies to meet current management challenges. The tasks and actions identified in the Strategy address several broad topics related to management of the sagebrush ecosystem. This science plan is organized around these topics and specifically focuses on fire, invasive plant species and their effects on altering fire regimes, restoration,...
Emerging applications of ecosystem resilience and resistance concepts in sagebrush ecosystems allow managers to better predict and mitigate impacts of wildfire and invasive annual grasses. Soil temperature and moisture strongly influence the kind and amount of vegetation, and consequently, are closely tied to sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance (Chambers et al. 2014, 2016). Soil taxonomic temperature and moisture regimes can be used as indicators of resilience and resistance at landscape scales to depict environmental gradients in sagebrush ecosystems that range from cold/cool-moist sites to warm-dry sites. We aggregated soil survey spatial and tabular data to facilitate broad-scale analyses of resilience...
FY2014Although the future of sage grouse depends on the future of sagebrush, we have limited ability to anticipate impacts of climate change on sagebrush populations. Current efforts to forecast sagebrush habitat typically rely on species distribution models (SDMs), which suffer from a variety of well-known weaknesses. However, by integrating SDMs with complementary research approaches, such as historical data analysis and mechanistic models, we can provide increased confidence in projections of habitat change. Our goal is to forecast the effect of climate change on the distribution and abundance of big sagebrush in order to inform conservation planning, and sage grouse management in particular, across the Intermountain...
A number of modeling approaches have been developed to predict the impacts of climate change on species distributions, performance and abundance. The stronger the agreement from models that represent different processes and are based on distinct and independent sources of information, the greater the confidence we can have in their predictions. Evaluating the level of confidence is particularly important when predictions are used to guide conservation or restoration decisions. We used a multi-model approach to predict climate change impacts on big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), the dominant plant species on roughly 43 million hectares in the western United States and a key resource for many endemic wildlife species....
Understanding how annual climate variation affects population growth rates across a species’ range may help us anticipate the effects of climate change on species distribution and abundance. We predict that populations in warmer or wetter parts of a species’ range should respond negatively to periods of above average temperature or precipitation, respectively, whereas populations in colder or drier areas should respond positively to periods of above average temperature or precipitation. To test this, we estimated the population sensitivity of a common shrub species, big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), to annual climate variation across its range. Our analysis includes 8175 observations of year-to-year change in...
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Values represent percent of surrounding landscape (5K) are dominated by sagebrush cover. Reclassified LANDFIRE 2013 Existing Vegetation Type by selecting the ecological systems containing sagebrush (Codes: 2080, 2125, 2126, 2220, 2064, 2072, 2079, 2124) to create a binary raster dataset with 1 for the sagebrush land cover types and zero for all others.To incorporate sagebrush lost to fire in fires since the Landsat was flown in 2010 that Landfire was derived from, I used fire perimeters from 2011,2012, & 2013 to reclassify pixels designated as having sagebrush as 0 (not having sagebrush), which assumes a homogenous burn (in reality there may be patches of sagebrush left within a burn perimeter). I then ran focalsum...
Land managers are responsible for developing effective strategies for conserving and restoring Great Basin ecosystems in the face of invasive species, conifer expansion, and altered fire regimes. A warming climate is magnifying the effects of these threats and adding urgency to implementation of management practices that will maintain or improve ecosystem functioning. This Factsheet Series was developed to provide land managers with brief summaries of the best available information on contemporary management issues to facilitate science delivery and foster effective management. Each peer-reviewed factsheet was developed as a collaborative effort among knowledgeable scientists and managers. The series begins with...
This report provides a strategic approach developed by a Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies interagency working group for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems, Greater sage-grouse, and Gunnison sage-grouse. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution and relative abundance of sage-grouse populations to address persistent ecosystem threats, such as invasive annual grasses and wildfire, and land use and development threats, such as oil and gas development and cropland conversion, to develop effective management strategies. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience...
Emerging applications of ecosystem resilience and resistance concepts in sagebrush ecosystems allow managers to better predict and mitigate impacts of wildfire and invasive annual grasses. Soil temperature and moisture strongly influence the kind and amount of vegetation, and consequently, are closely tied to sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance (Chambers et al. 2014, 2016). Soil taxonomic temperature and moisture regimes can be used as indicators of resilience and resistance at landscape scales to depict environmental gradients in sagebrush ecosystems that range from cold/cool-moist sites to warm-dry sites. We aggregated soil survey spatial and tabular data to facilitate broad-scale analyses of resilience...
The distribution of the greater sage-grouse (hereafter sage-grouse; Centrocercus urophasianus) has declined to 56% of its pre-settlement distribution (Schroeder et al. 2004) and abundance of males attending leks has decreased substantially over the past 50 years throughout the species’ range (Garton et al. 2011, Garton et al. 2015). Livestock grazing is a common land use in the sagebrush ecosystems that support sage-grouse, and livestock grazing has been implicated by some experts as one of numerous factors contributing to sage-grouse population declines (Beck and Mitchell 2000, Schroeder et al. 2004). However, there are also numerous mechanisms by which livestock grazing might benefit sage-grouse (Beck and Mitchell...
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Emerging applications of ecosystem resilience and resistance concepts in sagebrush ecosystems allow managers to better predict and mitigate impacts of wildfire and invasive annual grasses. Soil temperature and moisture strongly influence the kind and amount of vegetation, and consequently, are closely tied to sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance (Chambers et al. 2014). Soil taxonomic temperature and moisture regimes can be used as indicators of resilience and resistance at landscape scales to depict environmental gradients in sagebrush ecosystems that range from cold/cool-moist sites to warm-dry sites. We aggregated soil survey spatial and tabular data to facilitate broad-scale analyses of resilience and...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on November 29, 2017. The presentation was given by Bruce Roundy of Brigham Young University.In this webinar, Dr. Bruce Roundy of Brigham Young University discusses climatic conditions that favor cheatgrass and those that favor desirable perennial herbs. He explains why conditions that favor cheatgrass are associated with less resistance and those that favor perennial herbs are associated with more resilience. The presentation suggests ways to increase resistance to weeds and system resilience when planning fuel control treatments in sagebrush steppe.
This publication identifies areas where big sagebrush populations are most and least vulnerable to climate change and demonstrates where continued investment in sagebrush conservation and restoration could have the most impact.
On November 4, 2016, Dr. Peter Adler, Utah State University, discussed how sagebrush sensitivity to climate change varies across the region and the strengths and weaknesses of various climate modeling approaches.Healthy big sagebrush habitat is essential for the persistence of many high value conservation species across the western US. To gain confidence in predictions of climate change impacts on existing populations of big sagebrush, a research team from Utah State University compared output from four modeling approaches, each based on very different data and assumptions. These models largely agree that rising temperatures will decrease sagebrush cover and biomass in the warmest portions of the region, but increase...
“The loss of foundational but fire-intolerant perennials such as sagebrush due to increases in fire size and frequency in semi-arid regions has motivated efforts to restore them, often with mixed or even no success. Seeds of sagebrush Artemisia tridentata and related species must be moved considerable distances from seed source to planting sites, but such transfers have not been guided by an understanding of local climate adaptation. Initial seedling establishment and its response to weather are a key demographic bottleneck that likely varies among subspecies and populations of sagebrush.We assessed differences in survival, growth and physiological responses of sagebrush seedlings to weather among eleven seed sources...
This presentation aired as part of the Great Basin LCC webinar series on September 13, 2017. Speakers include Courtney Conway, Idaho Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and Paul Makela, Bureau of Land Management.Description: Greater Sage-grouse have declined since the mid-1960s, and grazing is the most extensive land use within sage-grouse habitat. The speakers will present progress on a 10-year project designed to document the effects of cattle grazing on: 1) demographic traits of Greater Sage-grouse; 2) sage-grouse habitat characteristics, 3) insect abundance, which is important prey for sage-grouse chicks, and 4) abundance of all other bird species. The research team works at five study sites in Idaho...
Emerging applications of ecosystem resilience and resistance concepts in sagebrush ecosystems allow managers to better predict and mitigate impacts of wildfire and invasive annual grasses. Soil temperature and moisture strongly influence the kind and amount of vegetation, and consequently, are closely tied to sagebrush ecosystem resilience and resistance (Chambers et al. 2014). Soil taxonomic temperature and moisture regimes can be used as indicators of resilience and resistance at landscape scales to depict environmental gradients in sagebrush ecosystems that range from cold/cool-moist sites to warm-dry sites. We aggregated soil survey spatial and tabular data to facilitate broad-scale analyses of resilience and...
FY2015Persistent ecosystem and anthropogenic disturbances and stressors are threatening sustainability of sagebrush ecosystems in the western US, and managers and policy makers are seeking strategic, holistic approaches for species conservation and ecosystem restoration. Recent research indicates that an understanding of ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to nonnative invasive species can be used to prioritize management activities across large landscapes and determine the most appropriate actions at project scales. An interagency WAFWA working group has linked this understanding with breeding habitat probabilities for Greater and Gunnison sage-grouse, and developed a habitat decision matrix for...
On September 26, Jeanne Chambers, U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, and Steve Hanser, U.S. Geological Survey, discussed the tools and methods developed as part of the Science Framework for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy of Sec. Order 3336.Co-hosted by the Great Basin, Great Northern, Plains and Prairie Potholes and Southern Rockies Landscape Conservation Cooperatives Department of the Interior Secretary Order 3336 called for the development of a comprehensive, science-based strategy to reduce the threat of large-scale rangeland fire to greater sage-grouse habitat and the sagebrush steppe ecosystem. The four Landscape Conservation Cooperatives (LCCs) of the sagebrush steppe are pleased...


map background search result map search result map Dataset: Sagebrush MW5k Percent Forecasting Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Under Climate Change: Integration of Spatial, Temporal, and Mechanistic Models Using Resilience and Resistance Concepts to Develop a Strategic Approach for Managing Threats to Sagebrush Ecosystems and Greater Sage-Grouse in the Eastern Portion of the Range Using Resilience and Resistance Concepts to Develop a Strategic Approach for Managing Threats to Sagebrush Ecosystems and Greater Sage-Grouse in the Eastern Portion of the Range Forecasting Changes in Sagebrush Distribution and Abundance Under Climate Change: Integration of Spatial, Temporal, and Mechanistic Models Dataset: Sagebrush MW5k Percent