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Sagebrush recovery patterns vary predictably with climate and weather, which can be leveraged to improve post-fire restoration outcomes.

Resource managers consider weather conditions when planning and assessing post-wildfire restoration treatments such as seeding. Despite these considerations, the importance of weather in predicting restoration outcomes remains poorly understood, due in part to yearly variation. USGS researchers examined post-fire seeding in sagebrush-steppe ecosystems to determine if annual weather impacts restoration success. Across the Great Basin, sagebrush growth was highest during wetter, cooler springs. However, the importance of spring weather varied with the long-term climate of the seeding site. The researchers found that incorporating spring weather improved the accuracy of sagebrush recovery predictions, but other site characteristics were more important. Predicting the effects of annual weather conditions may become increasingly important for allocating limited restoration resources as the climate continues to warm and the frequency of wildfires increases.

Simler-Williamson, A.B., Applestein, C.V., and Germino, M.J., 2022, Interannual variation in climate contributes to contingency in post-fire restoration outcomes in seeded sagebrush steppe: Conservation Science and Practice, no. e12737

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