Submitted to: Wildland Shrub Symposium Abstracts
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 13, 2010
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Citation: Bates, J.D., Rhodes, E., Davies, K.W., Sharp, R. 2011. The impacts of fire on sage-grouse habitat and diet resources [abstract]. 16th Annual Wildland Shrub Symposium. XVII. Technical Abstract: We evaluated six years of vegetation response following prescribed fire in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis) steppe on vegetation cover, the productivity and nutritional quality of forbs preferred by greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus), and the abundance of common arthropod orders. Habitat cover (shrubs and tall herbaceous cover (> 18cm height)) was about 50% lower after burning compared to unburned controls because of the loss of sagebrush. Perennial grasses and an invasive annual forb, pale alyssum (Alyssum alyssoides), increased in cover and/or yield after fire. There were no increases in yield and nutritional quality of forb species important in the diets of sage-grouse. The abundance of Hymenoptera, a significant component in the diet of young sage-grouse, decreased after fire. These results suggest that prescribed fire will not improve habitat characteristics for sage-grouse in Wyoming big sagebrush steppe where the community consists of shrubs, native grasses, and native forbs.