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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Restoring and Managing Great Basin Ecosystems

Location: Range and Meadow Forage Management Research

Title: Using resistance and resilience concepts to reduce impacts of invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes on the sagebrush ecosystem and greater sage-grouse - a strategic multi-scale approach

Authors
item Chamber, Jeanne -
item Pyke, David -
item Maestas, Jeremy -
item Pellant, Mike -
item Boyd, Chad
item Campbell, Steven -
item Espinosa, Shawn -
item Havlina, Douglas -
item Mayer, Kenneth -
item Wuenschel, Amarina -

Submitted to: Government Publication/Report
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: June 18, 2014
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Large scale conservation of greater sage-grouse is challenging because sage-grouse require large blocks of relatively intact sagebrush habitat and the ecology of those habitats and associated management issues varies strongly in accordance with a diversity of environmental factors. We developed a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse habitat that focuses on threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes, incorporating information on (1) sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses, and (2) distribution, relative abundance, and persistence of sage-grouse populations. Using this information we created a sage-grouse habitat matrix that links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with sage-grouse habitat requirements for landscape cover of sagebrush, and assessed focal management areas by overlaying matrix components with sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation (PACs), breeding bird densities, and specific habitat threats. The habitat matrix can be used to help decision makers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at a landscape scale and, when used in conjunction with site-specific information, provides managers with a tool for determining the suitability of focal areas for treatment and the most appropriate management treatments.

Technical Abstract: This Report provides a strategic approach for conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and Greater Sage-Grouse (sage-grouse) that focuses specifically on habitat threats caused by invasive annual grasses and altered fire regimes. It uses information on (1) factors that influence sagebrush ecosystem resilience to disturbance and resistance to invasive annual grasses and (2) distribution, relative abundance, and persistence of sage-grouse populations to develop management strategies at both landscape and site scales. A sage-grouse habitat matrix links relative resilience and resistance of sagebrush ecosystems with sage-grouse habitat requirements for landscape cover of sagebrush to help decision makers assess risks and determine appropriate management strategies at landscape scales. Focal areas for management are assessed by overlaying matrix components with sage-grouse Priority Areas for Conservation (PACs), breeding bird densities, and specific habitat threats. Decision tools are discussed for determining the suitability of focal areas for treatment and the most appropriate management treatments. Keywords: sagebrush habitat, Greater Sage-Grouse, fire effects, invasive annual grasses, management prioritization, conservation, prevention, restoration

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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