Widespread concern about conservation of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse creates expectations that natural resource agencies will manage sagebrush habitat effectively to conserve sage-grouse across the 11 western States encompassed by the sagebrush biome. An extensive, collaborative State and Federal partnership of more than 30 individuals has led to a two-part Scientific Framework for addressing threats to sagebrush ecosystems and associated species.
The Science Framework is comprised of two volumes:
Part 1 – Science Basis and Application (USFS General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-360, April 2017) provides tools for prioritizing areas for management and determining effective management strategies across the sagebrush biome.
Part 2 – Management Applications for the Conservation and Restoration Strategy (USFS General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-389, April 2019) provides management considerations and tradeoffs for applying the information and tools in Part 1.
The Science Framework was developed by state, federal, and university collaborators to provide a transparent, ecologically-defensible approach for making policy and management decisions to reduce threats to sagebrush ecosystems and sagebrush dependent species, with an emphasis on Greater sage-grouse.
Part 1 provides a geospatial process for assessing and mapping resilience and resistance, Greater sage-grouse habitat, and the dominant threats that can be used to prioritize the areas for management; a sage-grouse habitat resilience and resistance matrix helps managers evaluate risks and determine appropriate management strategies.
Part 2 provides targeted information on each management topic with the necessary considerations for effective management at mid- to local-scales, including: the basis for identifying threats and selecting project areas; the best available information on management options, effectiveness, and potential environmental consequences; and administrative realities.
The concepts and approaches in the Science Framework have been used by the Forest Service in developing fire risk assessments, incorporated into the Department of the Interior’s Integrated Rangeland Fire Management Strategy, and used by the BLM to develop a multi-year program of work for BLM managed lands in the western part of the sagebrush biome.