Reptiles Under the Conservation Umbrella of the Greater Sage-Grouse

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Management actions for umbrella species may also benefit co‐occurring species. An understanding of how sage-grouse conservation might benefit non‐target species, such as reptiles, is limited. 

Researchers studied species distributions and land-cover similarities to find out which reptile species may benefit from the protection of intact sage‐grouse habitat and recent habitat restoration actions targeting sage‐grouse. Seventy of 190 reptile species in the United States and Canada co-occur with greater sage‐grouse, and 22 species have greater than 10 percent distribution area within the sage‐grouse range. Fourteen of the 22 species - 8 snake and 6 lizard species - had relatively similar land-cover associations to those of sage‐grouse, suggesting greater potential to be affected by habitat management actions intended for sage‐grouse. Conservation of intact sagebrush vegetation communities could affect a greater number of reptiles than previously estimated, yet additional research on each species' response to habitat restoration actions would help assess multi‐taxa effects of sage‐grouse habitat management.

Pilliod, D.S., Jeffries, M.I., Arkle, R.S., Olson, D.H., 2020, Reptiles under the conservation umbrella of the Greater Sage-grouse: Journal of Wildlife Management,

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Date published: November 27, 2017
Status: Active

Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Biology Team (FRESC)

Wildlife respond to changes in their environment, some of which are dramatic and others subtle. To fully understand the factors that drive changes in populations and communities, we need better information on wildlife ecology in natural and human-altered landscapes. We conduct research and provide technical assistance to address applied questions about the ecology and conservation of wildlife...

Contacts: David S Pilliod