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Individual Highlight

Providing science-based information for future conservation and management efforts of sagebrush ecosystems

Photo of Vegetative recovery five years after a fire in a mountainous big sagebrush community. Scattered sagebrush plants grew from seeds that survived the fire and are now large enough to begin producing the seeds that will give rise to a second post-fire generation. Plant density is sufficient for full sagebrush recovery in 25–35 years after the fire.Vegetative recovery five years after a fire in a mountainous big sagebrush community. Scattered sagebrush plants grew from seeds that survived the fire and are now large enough to begin producing the seeds that will give rise to a second post-fire generation. Plant density is sufficient for full sagebrush recovery in 25–35 years after the fire.Snapshot : Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems is the first step in reducing the threat to the greater sage-grouse. Holistic management of this ecosystem also will reduce fires that damage properties, mitigate the spread of undesirable invasive annual grasses, and improve ecosystem services.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Finch, Deborah M.  
Research Location : Western United States
Research Station : Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS)
Year : 2017
Highlight ID : 1376

Summary

Sagebrush ecosystems are among the largest and most threatened ecosystems in North America. Sage-grouse depend on sagebrush ecosystems for successful mating, reproduction and brood-rearing, and their declining populations reflect on the health and availability of sagebrush habitat. Several stressors contribute to population problems: fire, invasive annual grasses such as cheatgrass, drought, climate change, and habitat fragmentation due to human-based activities. Forest Service scientists and managers who work with sagebrush and sage-grouse prepared an assessment that summarizes the agency’s strengths, capabilities, partners, past and current research, and potential future priority research areas for conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse. They identified four areas of strength: leadership and knowledge development for evaluating links among sage-grouse population ecology, monitoring, and habitat; understanding disturbances and stressors in sagebrush ecosystems; analyzing and designing landscapes to improve habitat connectivity; and developing methods, models, and plant materials to restore sagebrush habitats.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • National Forest System, Washington D.C.