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Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse: an assessment of USDA Forest Service Science

Author(s): Deborah M. Finch, Douglas A. Boyce, Jeanne C. Chambers, Chris J. Colt, R. Kasten Dumroese, Stanley G. Kitchen, Clinton McCarthy, Susan E. Meyer, Bryce A. Richardson, Mary M. Rowland, Mark A. Rumble, Michael K. Schwartz, Monica S. Tomosy, Michael J. Wisdom
Year Published: 2016

Sagebrush ecosystems are among the largest and most threatened ecosystems in North America. Greater sage-grouse has served as the bellwether for species conservation in these ecosystems and has been considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act eight times. In September 2015, the decision was made not to list greater sage-grouse, but to reevaluate its status in 5 years. Concerns over sage-grouse and associated habitats have set in motion sweeping Federal and State land management plan changes and proactive science-based conservation actions to address threats within the realm of management control. For nearly a century, the Forest Service (FS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has studied sagebrush ecosystems and for decades has focused on sage-grouse biology and habitat requirements. Our team of FS scientists and managers prepared this assessment to summarize FS strengths, capabilities, partners, past and current research, and potential future high-priority research areas for conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse. We identified research and science-based management needs of the National Forest System where lands are important for breeding and brood-rearing habitats for sage-grouse. We recommend expanded research and science delivery by FS scientists. This work will help meet continuing widespread concerns and calls for science-based conservation to mitigate threats to sagebrush ecosystems, conserve populations of sage-grouse and other sagebrush-obligate species, and restore sagebrush ecosystems throughout the western United States.

Citation: Finch, Deborah M.; Boyce, Douglas A., Jr.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Colt, Chris J.; Dumroese, R. Kasten; Kitchen, Stanley G.; McCarthy, Clinton; Meyer, Susan E.; Richardson, Bryce A.; Rowland, Mary M.; Rumble, Mark A.; Schwartz, Michael K.; Tomosy, Monica S.; Wisdom, Michael J. 2016. Conservation and restoration of sagebrush ecosystems and sage-grouse: an assessment of USDA Forest Service Science. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-348. Fort Collins, CO; U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 54 p.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Wildlife, Fire & Wildlife, Birds, Sage-grouse, Recovery after fire
Ecosystem(s): Mountain shrubland/wooded draw
Document Type: Synthesis, Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 14004
FRAMES RCS number: 21775
Record updated: Mar 19, 2018