Sagebrush Ecosystems in a Changing Climate and Adaptive Management
This webinar was conducted on July 17, 2017 as part of the USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center Climate Change Science and Management Webinar Series, held in partnership with FWS National Conservation Training Center.
Webinar Summary: Sagebrush steppe rangelands comprise a large fraction of North America, but they are in decline due to increases in wildfire and invasive plants, factors that relate strongly to climate and weather variability. When intact, plant communities in sagebrush steppe appear well adapted to cold wet winters and hot dry summers along with low predictability of annual precipitation. However, disturbances such as large fire or conversion of sites to exotic annual grassland sensitize basic ecosystem functions to climate and weather variability, often leading to substantial losses in soil and ecosystem stability. Management responses to wildfire such as seeding, planting, or treatment of exotic invasive plants are pivotal opportunities for hindering or reversing the degradation. However, restoring desirable perennials is often challenging in these environments due to the climate and weather systems. Published and preliminary findings point to several seeding and planting strategies and technologies that are likely to increase success, particularly those that directly address seed and plant adaptation. The presentation gives a brief overview of how these factors are being addressed in research and adaptive management.