Chapter

Characteristics of Sagebrush Habitats and Limitations to Long-Term Conservation

Richard F. Miller, Steven T. Knick, David A. Pyke, Cara W. Meinke, Steven E. Hanser, Michael J. Wisdom and Ann L. Hild

in Greater Sage-Grouse

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780520267114
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520948686 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520267114.003.0011
Characteristics of Sagebrush Habitats and Limitations to Long-Term Conservation

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The distribution of sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) within the Sage-Grouse Conservation Area (SGCA), the historical distribution of Greater Sage-Grouse buffered by fifty kilometers, stretches from British Columbia and Saskatchewan in the north, to northern Arizona and New Mexico in the south, and from the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains to western South Dakota. The dominant sagebrush (sub)species as well as the composition and proportion of shrubs, grasses, and forbs varies across different ecological sites as a function of precipitation, temperature, soils, topographic position, elevation, and disturbance history. Invasive plant species, wildfires, and weather and climate change are major influences on sagebrush habitats and present significant challenges to their long-term conservation. A large proportion of existing sagebrush communities are at moderate to high risk of invasion by cheatgrass. Juniper and pinyon woodlands have expanded into sagebrush habitats at higher elevations creating an elevational squeeze on the sagebrush ecosystem from both extremes.

Keywords: Artemisia; climate change; sagebrush; Sage-Grouse Conservation Area; Greater Sage-Grouse; invasive plant species; wildfires; sagebrush habitats; conservation; cheatgrass

Chapter.  16694 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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