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Large-scale wildfire reduces population growth in a peripheral population of sage-grouse

May 10, 2021

Drastic increases in wildfire size and frequency threaten western North American sagebrush (Artemisia L. spp.) ecosystems. At relatively large spatial scales, wildfire facilitates type conversion of sagebrush-dominated plant communities to monocultures of invasive annual grasses (e.g., Bromus tectorum L.). Annual grasses provide fine fuels that promote fire spread, contributing to a positive grass–fire feedback cycle that affects most sagebrush ecosystems, with expected habitat loss for resident wildlife populations. Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus Bonaparte, 1827) are sagebrush obligate species that are indicators of sagebrush ecosystem function because they rely on different components of sagebrush ecosystems to meet seasonal life history needs. Because wildfire cannot be predicted, chronic impacts of wildfire on sage-grouse populations have been largely limited to correlative studies. Thus, evidence from well-designed experiments is needed to understand the specific mechanisms by which wildfire is detrimental to sage-grouse population dynamics.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Large-scale wildfire reduces population growth in a peripheral population of sage-grouse
DOI 10.1186/s42408-021-00099-z
Authors Ian F Dudley, Peter S. Coates, Brian G. Prochazka, Shawn O'Neil, Scott C. Gardner, David J. Delehanty
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Fire Ecology
Series Number
Index ID 70220545
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center