Ecological - Second Order
Recovery after fire
The widespread occurrence of big sagebrush can be attributed to many adaptive features. Big sagebrush plays an essential role in its communities by providing wildlife habitat, modifying local environmental conditions, and facilitating the reestablishment of native herbs. Currently, however, many sagebrush steppe communities are highly fragmented. As a result, restoring big sagebrush is considered a priority in the conservation and rehabilitation of sagebrush steppe ecosystems. Wyoming big sagebrush can often be difficult to establish, because many environmental factors act to restrict its emergence and persistence. On fire rehabilitation projects in Idaho, Wyoming big sagebrush seed is typically aerially broadcast over the soil surface. This method has had some success; however, several alternative seeding treatments, such as cultipacking, have resulted in the establishment and persistence of Wyoming big sagebrush. In addition, transplanting bareroot and containerized stock may be useful for restoring shrub stands in critical areas.