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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...
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For the Green River Basin Landscape Conservation Design (GRB LCD) assessment, we mapped the vulnerability of the sagebrush ecosystem to oil and gas development for each 12-digit hydrologic unit. Using a vulnerability framework, we defined Sensitivity (S) as the multi-scale average of sagebrush ecosystem land cover derived from LANDFIRE Existing Vegetation Type (LANDFIRE 2014). Exposure (E) to oil and gas development was quantified as the average kernel density of active oil and gas wells at multiple scales. Potential Impact (PI) is the square root transformed product of oil and gas development exposure and sagebrush ecosystem sensitivity. Adaptive Capacity (AC) for sagebrush ecosystem was quantified as the inverse...
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...
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In this thesis I explore a derivation of the MSAM using the DDO survey method to create a multispecies dependent double-observer abundance (MDAM) model. I use this tool to explore how two widely used grazing systems affect the abundance of eight songbird species with varying reliance on grassland vegetation in a sagebrush ecosystem.
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...
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Estimating species abundance is important for land managers, especially for monitoringconservation efforts. The two main survey methods for estimating avian abundance are point counts and transects. Previous comparisons of these two methods have either been limited to a single species or have not included detection probability. During the 2012 breeding season, we compared and assessed the efficiency (precision for amount of effort) of point count time of detection (PCTD) and dependent double-observer transect (TRMO) methods based on detection probabilities and abundance estimates of five species of songbirds that use a range of habitats in a prairie system in Montana dominated by sagebrush and grassland vegetation....
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Livestock grazing practices are managed by private landowners and federal and state agencies across the western U.S. Increasingly, grazing strategies by these entities are incorporating conservation objectives and developing goals that include livestock production that is compatible with wildlife conservation objectives. This project evaluates the impact of conservation-oriented, rest-rotation livestock grazing and climate changes on migratory bird species associated with sagebrush habitat to better inform grazing management practices. Rest-rotation grazing management is likely to enhance important components of sagebrush, shrubland, and grassland habitat for a wide range of species, but little work has been done...
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...


map background search result map search result map Assessing land use practices on ecological charateristics of sagebrush ecosystems Dataset: Sagebrush MW5k Percent Comparison of removal-based methods for estimating abundance of five species of prairie songbirds Assessing changes in Avian Communities Vulnerability of Sagebrush Ecosystem to Oil and Gas Development for the Green River Basin Vulnerability of Sagebrush Ecosystem to Oil and Gas Development for the Green River Basin Assessing land use practices on ecological charateristics of sagebrush ecosystems Comparison of removal-based methods for estimating abundance of five species of prairie songbirds Assessing changes in Avian Communities Dataset: Sagebrush MW5k Percent