Greater Sage-Grouse as an Umbrella Species for Shrubland Passerine Birds: A Multiscale Assessment

Steven E. Hanser and Steven T. Knick

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:
Greater Sage-Grouse as an Umbrella Species for Shrubland Passerine Birds: A Multiscale Assessment

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Working groups and government agencies are planning and conducting land actions in sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitats to benefit Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) populations. Managers have adopted an umbrella concept, creating habitat characteristics specific to sage-grouse requirements, in the belief that other wildlife species dependent on sagebrush will benefit. The efficacy of this approach was tested by first identifying the primary environmental gradients underlying sagebrush steppe bird communities, including Greater Sage-Grouse. Field sampling for birds and vegetation was integrated with geographic information system data to characterize 305 sites sampled throughout the current range of Greater Sage-Grouse in the Intermountain West, United States. The relative overlap of sagegrouse with thirteen species of passerine birds was observed along the multiscale gradients. Passerine birds associated with sagebrush steppe habitats had high levels of overlap with Greater Sage-Grouse along the multiscale environmental gradients. However, the overlap of the umbrella species was primarily a function of the broad range of sagebrush habitats used by sage-grouse.

Keywords: Centrocercus urophasianus; Greater Sage-Grouse; sagebrush habitats; passerine birds; sagebrush steppe; umbrella species; Artemisia; vegetation; Intermountain West; environmental gradients

Chapter.  6241 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Vertebrates

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