Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2006
Publication Date: 2/1/2007
Citation: Davies, K.W., Boyd, C. 2007. Management Concerns and Research Needs for Sagebrush Obligate Wildlife Species. Rangeland Ecology and Management 60th Annual Meeting. Paper No. 111.
Technical Abstract: The reduction of area occupied by sagebrush and fragmentation of the remaining sagebrush habitat has raised concerns about the fate of sagebrush obligate species. Sagebrush plant communities have been converted to agricultural croplands, near monocultures of exotic invasive plants, and pinyon-juniper woodlands to the determinant of sagebrush obligate wildlife species. Other losses of sagebrush plant communities include urbanization, mining, and energy development. The remaining sagebrush plant communities have been fragmented by roads, power lines, and railroads reducing their habitat value. Because of loss and fragmentation of sagebrush habitats the subsequent reduction in sagebrush obligate populations, management has become increasingly concerned with how to properly manage sagebrush plant communities for sagebrush plant communities for sagebrush obligate wildlife species. However, information concerning habitat needs for these species at multiple scales is generally lacking. Furthermore, very few studies of sagebrush obligate species are manipulative research, in which cause-effect relationships can be determined. The impacts of grazing, various kinds of human recreation, and subdividing of ranches into ranchetts on sagebrush obligate species are relatively unexplored and need to be investigated. Land managers also need information on how to restore sagebrush habitat, what the mosiac of plant communities should be, what tools to use to create the desired mosaic of different vegetation communities, and how to maintain sagebrush communities. Historically, infrequent wildfires and other disturbances created a mosaic of sagebrush, sagebrush herbaceous, and herbaceous dominated plant communities. Disturbance driven plant communities may need disturbances to maintain their functionality. The role disturbance now plays in maintaining the function and mosaic of sagebrush plant communities needs to be addressed. Mitigating the impacts of disturbance (e.g. fire, grazing) on the spread of invasive plants is also a primary challenge for both management and research entities.