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Restoring and rehabilitating sagebrush habitats

January 1, 2011

Less than half of the original habitat of the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus uropha-sianus) currently exists. Some has been perma-nently lost to farms and urban areas, but the remaining varies in condition from high quality to no longer adequate. Restoration of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) grassland ecosystems may be pos-sible for resilient lands. However, Greater Sage-Grouse require a wide variety of habitats over large areas to complete their life cycle. Effective restoration will require a regional approach for prioritizing and identifying appropriate options across the landscape. A landscape triage method is recommended for prioritizing lands for restora-tion. Spatial models can indicate where to protect and connect intact quality habitat with other simi-lar habitat via restoration. The ecological site con-cept of land classification is recommended for characterizing potential habitat across the region along with their accompanying state and transi-tion models of plant community dynamics. These models assist in identifying if passive, manage-ment-based or active, vegetation manipulation?based restoration might accomplish the goals of improved Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. A series of guidelines help formulate questions that manag-ers might consider when developing restoration plans: (1) site prioritization through a landscape triage; (2) soil verification and the implications of soil features on plant establishment success; (3) a comparison of the existing plant community to the potential for the site using ecological site descriptions; (4) a determination of the current successional status of the site using state and transition models to aid in predicting if passive or active restoration is necessary; and (5) implemen-tation of post-treatment monitoring to evaluate restoration effectiveness and post-treatment man-agement implications to restoration success.

Publication Year 2011
Title Restoring and rehabilitating sagebrush habitats
Authors David A. Pyke
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70004639
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center