Many conservation strategies promote the potential of multiple species benefitting from protection of large areas necessary for the continued viability of 1 species. One prominent strategy in western North America is Wyoming’s Sage-grouse Core Area Policy, which was designed to conserve greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; hereafter, sage-grouse) breeding habitat, but may also serve as an umbrella to conserve other sagebrush (Artemisia spp.)-obligate wildlife, including songbirds. Sagebrush-obligate songbirds and sage-grouse have undergone population declines throughout the western United States attributed to similar habitat issues. We compared trends of sagebrush-obligate songbirds from the Breeding Bird Survey and sage-grouse lek counts in 2 sage-grouse populations in Wyoming (Powder River Basin and Wyoming Basins), USA from 1996–2013. Our evaluation was focused on similarities among population performance of the umbrella species and the species under that umbrella. Sagebrush-obligate songbird and both sage-grouse populations occupied habitat within and outside of protected core areas. Trends of sagebrush-obligate songbirds were not parallel or consistently similar in trajectory to sage-grouse in either core or non-core areas. Our results indicated core areas were successful at maintaining higher sage-grouse trends compared to areas not protected under the core area policy. However, sagebrush-obligate songbird trends did not follow the same pattern. This suggests that protection of only the best sage-grouse habitat may not be a sufficient conservation strategy for other sagebrush-obligate birds.
Dinkins, Jonathan B. and Beck, Jeffrey L.
"Comparison of Conservation Policy Benefits for an Umbrella and Related Sagebrush-Obligate Species,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 13:
3, Article 13.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol13/iss3/13