Research Task: RB00CFC.1.0
Task Manager: Cameron Aldridge
Since European settlement, sagebrush habitats have undergone dramatic fragmentation and loss. Today, sagebrush ecosystems are considered imperiled, and many sagebrush-dependent species have experienced drastic range contractions and population declines. Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus spp.) populations have declined by 15–90 percent since the early 1970s. State and Federal land management agencies are now developing and implementing management and conservation strategies for sagebrush habitats and species. Because the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) owns and manages approximately 50 percent of remaining sagebrush habitat, it has identified landscape-scale management of these habitats as a priority. Despite current research to identify resource requirements for many sagebrush-obligate species at local scales, a lack of methodologies for accurate assessments and habitat monitoring at larger scales has precluded landscape-scale management. Current landscape-scale sagebrush maps and products quantifying anthropogenic features in sagebrush habitats are grossly inaccurate, limiting the ability of the BLM to develop appropriate land management decisions. To manage sagebrush habitats and wildlife, monitor species responses to land-use changes, and develop sound management plans at the landscape scale, the BLM needs accurate maps of sagebrush that identify sagebrush species, subspecies, and canopy cover and height as well as locations of roads and energy-related developments. The goal of this task is to develop statistically rigorous mapping products to assess habitat within the sagebrush ecosystem. These products will be the foundation for future management and planning efforts on BLM lands and will directly assist with species and ecosystem assessments.
For more information contact Cameron Aldridge