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Annotated bibliography of scientific research on greater sage-grouse published from 2015 to 2019

September 30, 2020

The greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter GRSG) has been a focus of scientific investigation and management action for the past two decades. The 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listing determination of “not warranted” was in part due to a large-scale collaborative effort to develop strategies to conserve GRSG populations and their habitat and to reduce threats to both. New scientific information augments existing knowledge and can help inform updates or modifications to existing plans for managing GRSG and sagebrush ecosystems. However, the sheer number of scientific publications can be a challenge for managers tasked with evaluating and determining the need for potential updates to existing planning documents. To assist in this process, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has reviewed and summarized the scientific literature published since January 1, 2015. The first GRSG literature summary was published early in 2018. Here we provide an update to that document by adding summaries of articles published between January 6, 2018 and October 2, 2019.

To identify articles and reports published about GRSG, we first conducted a structured search of three reference databases (Web of Science, Scopus, and Google Scholar) using the search term “greater sage-grouse.” We refined the initial list of products by (1) removing duplicates, (2) excluding products that were not published as research or scientific review articles in peer-reviewed journals or as formal technical reports, and (3) retaining only those products for which GRSG or their habitat was a research focus.

We summarized the contents of each product by using a consistent structure (background, objectives, methods, location, findings, and implications) and assessed the content of each product relevant to a list of 31 management topics. These topics include GRSG biology and habitat characteristics along with potential management actions, land uses, and environmental factors related to GRSG management and conservation. We also noted which articles/reports created new geospatial data.

Our original search, conducted on January 7, 2018, and the application of our criteria, resulted in the inclusion of 169 published products (2 of these products were published corrections to journal articles). This update adds summaries of 69 products published between then and October 2, 2019. The management topics most commonly addressed were GRSG behavior or demographics and GRSG habitat selection or habitat characteristics at broad or site scales. Few products addressed captive breeding, recreation, wild horses and burros, and range management structures (including fences). The management topics with the largest increase in representation between the 2018 GRSG literature summary and this update were GRSG survival and GRSG population estimates or targets, which were each addressed in 16 percent of products in the original literature summary document, but were addressed in 30 and 33 percent, respectively, of newly summarized products. Topics with the largest declines in representation were conifer expansion, - 17 to 10 percent, and new geospatial data, -31 to 21 percent. We include in this annotated bibliography the full citation, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), product summary, and management topics addressed by each product. The online version of this bibliography ( is searchable by topic and location and includes links to journal landing pages for each original publication.

A substantial body of literature has been compiled on research explicitly related to the conservation, management, monitoring, and assessment of GRSG. These studies may inform planning and management actions that seek to balance conservation, economic, and social objectives and manage diverse resource uses and values across the western United States.

The review process for this product included requesting input on each summary from one or more authors of the original peer-reviewed article or report and a formal review of the entire document by three independent reviewers for the original document and by two independent reviewers for the updated document and, subsequently, the USGS Bureau Approving Official. This process is consistent with USGS Fundamental Science Practices.

Publication Year 2020
Title Annotated bibliography of scientific research on greater sage-grouse published from 2015 to 2019
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201103
Authors Sarah K. Carter, Robert S. Arkle, Heidi L. Bencin, Benjamin R. Harms, Daniel J. Manier, Aaron N. Johnston, Susan L. Phillips, Steven E. Hanser, Zachary H. Bowen
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2020-1103
Index ID ofr20201103
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center; Fort Collins Science Center; Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center