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Individual Highlight

Wildflowers are Key to Sagebrush Restoration

Photo of Bumble bees and other pollinators are crucial to our nation’s economic health, food security, and ecosystem health; restoring habitat to conserve their populations is the focus of recent federal attention. R. Kasten Dumroese, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Bumble bees and other pollinators are crucial to our nation’s economic health, food security, and ecosystem health; restoring habitat to conserve their populations is the focus of recent federal attention. R. Kasten Dumroese, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.Snapshot : Land managers are dealing with an increasing number of imperiled species; often mandates focus on each crisis species independently. A myopic approach may develop ( such as allocating resources and setting conservation and restoration priorities one issue at a time) that can lead to inefficient use of land management resources, or, worse, pit one suite of species against another. Is there a way to take a more holistic approach to maximize the effectiveness of wildlife conservation?

Principal Investigators(s) :
Dumroese, Kasten 
Research Location : California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, Wyoming
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2016
Highlight ID : 1056

Summary

For many important reasons, few species of wildflowers (forbs) have been included in sagebrush traditional restoration efforts in the western United States. With increasing attention placed on the conservation of sage-grouse, native pollinators, and Monarch butterflies, Forest Service scientists examined the potential benefits of using a high-diversity of native forbs in restoration work to support these fauna. Their science synthesis found that these fauna require a high-diversity of forbs that ensures, for example, a progression of different flower types is available throughout the breeding season for pollinators and monarchs, and provides a wide-range of host plants for the large number of arthropods required for successful development of sage-grouse broods. Although land managers have thousands of forb species to choose from in the sagebrush biome, 12 genera of forbs appear to provide the necessary benefit to sage-grouse, pollinators, and the Monarch alike. Thus, focusing research efforts into producing seeds and plants of these genera and using them in restoration work would simultaneously support conservation and restoration of these fauna. Further, outplanting forb seedlings in high-density islands may be a way to accelerate the pace of restoration, reduce the amount of seeds required, and provide critical linkage among remaining high-quality sagebrush habitat.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Tara Luna, Consulting Botanist
  • Thomas D Landis, Native Plant Nursery Consulting