In Utah, greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse) range has been reduced to 50% of what is considered historical availability due to habitat degradation and loss. In an effort to improve sage-grouse habitat in southern Utah, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted a tree-removal treatment in 2005. We conducted a study to determine if (a) the tree-removal treatment was effective at creating new sage-grouse habitat, and (b) if characteristics of used habitat were similar to those reported in previous literature. The treatment resulted in increased abundance of grasses and forbs. Additionally, shrub percentage cover and height was not negatively affected by the treatment. Sage-grouse used the treated areas more than expected based on availability within the first year of the treatment. The vegetation resulting from the treatment used by sage-grouse in all seasons was lower in percentage shrub, grass, forb composition, and average height than the range of previously reported habitats for late-brood rearing, fall and winter seasons of use. Sage-grouse’s quick positive response to the treated area suggests that suitable habitat is limited in this region.
Frey, S. Nicole; Curtis, Rachel; and Heaton, Kevin
"Response of a small population of greater sage-grouse to tree removal: implications of limiting factors,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 7
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol7/iss2/6