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WWETAC Focus Area: Environment

Balzotti C.S., Kitchen S.G., McCarthy C. 2016. Beyond the single species climate envelope: a multifaceted approach to mapping climate change vulnerability. Ecosphere, 7 (9): e01444. 10.1002/ecs2.1444. TreeSearch link.

Climate change vulnerability of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) in Utah and Nevada was assessed by creating climate envelopes for sagebrush and its competing invasive species. Additional stressors on sage grouse habitat such as fire, conifer encroachment, invasive grasses and human impacts were included in the development o f risk assessment maps. Sage-grouse populations at subregional and local scales are at increased risk from climate change; populations in xeric habitats are especially at risk. This model framework integrates complex interactions in a spatial context and can be used to establish priorities for managing sage grouse habitats.

Figure 4 (left) from Balzotti et al. (reference above). Workflow for the local-scale risk assessment. Risk is defined here as a reduction in sagebrush climate envelopes and presence of any of concurrent invasive species climate envelopes. Higher risk is defined as risk areas with one or more additional stressors. The model is broken into risks associated with conifers (left side) and risks associated with cheatgrass (right side).