Chapter

Influences of the Human Footprint on Sagebrush Landscape Patterns: Implications for Sage-Grouse Conservation

Matthias Leu and Steven E. Hanser

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/9780520267114.003.0014
Influences of the Human Footprint on Sagebrush Landscape Patterns: Implications for Sage-Grouse Conservation

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Sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) ecosystems in the western United States have changed in quantity and configuration from a variety of causes including agriculture and human population growth since Euro-American settlement. Activities sustaining human society can decrease or fragment land cover and alter ecological processes within sagebrush ecosystems. The extent of these activities, cumulatively called the human footprint, within the range of sage-grouse has not been evaluated. Using a recent human-footprint model of the western United States, a study was undertaken to evaluate human-footprint intensity: across the sage-grouse range within seven Sage-Grouse Management Zones (SMZs), across five sagebrush land-cover classes and a non-sagebrush land-cover class within SMZ, and on landscape pattern of sagebrush land cover in relation to three scenarios differing in human-footprint effect area. A landscape-pattern analysis, using a lacunarity index, or measure of sagebrush patchiness, revealed sagebrush landscapes to be multiscaled. These results support growing evidence that sage-grouse respond to environmental factors at larger scales than those currently applied in management.

Keywords: Artemisia; sagebrush; sage-grouse; human footprint; lacunarity; sagebrush ecosystems; agriculture; human population growth; land cover; Sage-Grouse Management Zones

Chapter.  9432 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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