Sage-grouse & Sagebrush Ecosystem

Stressors

Human actions and natural processes affect the sagebrush ecosystem through a variety of mechanisms. Understanding the influence of these factors on sage-grouse, other sagebrush associated species, and sagebrush ecosystem condition can help inform development of measures to minimize impacts to these resources and communities that depend on them. USGS scientists are addressing many of the important stressors in this ecosystem including the influence of surface disturbance and the subsequent removal of sagebrush habitat, expansion of conifer trees into sagebrush shrublands, spread of invasive species such as cheatgrass, rangeland fire, and livestock grazing.

Filter Total Items: 4
Date published: May 23, 2019
Status: Active

Cheatgrass and Medusahead

Invasive annual grasses, such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and medusahead (Taeniatherum caput-medusae), are one of the most significant stressors to rangeland ecosystems in the western U.S. Their expansion and dominance across this area are the most damaging ecosystem agents on this iconic landscape.

Date published: October 30, 2017
Status: Active

Wildland Fire Science in Forests and Deserts

Fuel conditions and fire regimes in western forests and deserts have been altered due to past land management, biological invasions, and recent extreme weather events and climate shifts. These changes have created extreme fire risk to local and regional communities, threatening their economic health related to wildland recreation, forest production, livestock operations, and other uses of...

Contacts: Matthew Brooks
Date published: June 14, 2017
Status: Active

Stressors to Greater Sage-Grouse

The Greater Sage-grouse is a small bird found only in the sagebrush steppe of the Great Basin. Invasions of non-native grasses, evolving wildfire patterns, grazing from livestock, and human land uses are changing this unique ecosystem. WERC’s Dr. Pete Coates studies sage-grouse populations to determine how these influences could affect the bird and other wildlife in the future.

Contacts: Peter Coates