Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Ecological Potential of the Wyoming Big Sagebrush Cover Type in the Northern Great Basin

Authors
item Davies, Kirk
item Bates, Jonathan
item Miller, Richard - OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Society for Range Management Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: January 2, 2003
Publication Date: February 6, 2003
Citation: DAVIES, K., BATES, J.D., MILLER, R. ECOLOGICAL POTENTIAL OF THE WYOMING BIG SAGEBRUSH COVER TYPE IN THE NORTHERN GREAT BASIN [abstract]. SOCIETY FOR RANGE MANAGEMENT MEETING ABSTRACTS. 2003. Paper No. 56

Interpretive Summary: The Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. Wyomingensis) cover type is the most extensive of the big sagebrush complex in the Intermountain West. This cover type provides important habitat for many sagebrush obligate and facultative wildlife species as well as an important forage base for livestock production. Lack of information on ecological potential, composition, and structure across the Wyoming big sagebrush cover type has resulted in disagreement over management guidelines and habitat needs for sage grouse. The large degree of variability characterizing plant associations within this cover type increases the complexity of the problem. During the 2001 and 2002 field seasons, 127 sites in relatively high ecological condition were sampled throughout southeastern Oregon and northwestern Nevada. Community structure, composition, soils, and other site parameters were measured. Results indicated a wide range of variability in community and site characteristics across this cover type within the region measured. Shrub and herbaceous cover varied from 4.5 to 25% and 4.5 to 51%, respectively. The density of shrub canopy cover within stands was also highly variable and the relationship between overstory and understory cover was inconsistent. Over 125 herbaceous and 15 shrub species were documented to occur among sites sampled. The natural range of variability among plant associations in the Wyoming big sagebrush cover type suggests the need for flexible management guidelines.

Technical Abstract: The Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. Wyomingensis) cover type is the most extensive of the big sagebrush complex in the Intermountain West. This cover type provides important habitat for many sagebrush obligate and facultative wildlife species as well as an important forage base for livestock production. Lack of information on ecological potential, composition, and structure across the Wyoming big sagebrush cover type has resulted in disagreement over management guidelines and habitat needs for sage grouse. The large degree of variability characterizing plant associations within this cover type increases the complexity of the problem. During the 2001 and 2002 field seasons, 127 sites in relatively high ecological condition were sampled throughout southeastern Oregon and northwestern Nevada. Community structure, composition, soils, and other site parameters were measured. Results indicated a wide range of variability in community and site characteristics across this cover type within the region measured. Shrub and herbaceous cover varied from 4.5 to 25% and 4.5 to 51%, respectively. The density of shrub canopy cover within stands was also highly variable and the relationship between overstory and understory cover was inconsistent. Over 125 herbaceous and 15 shrub species were documented to occur among sites sampled. The natural range of variability among plant associations in the Wyoming big sagebrush cover type suggests the need for flexible management guidelines.

Last Modified: 8/29/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page