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Sage Grouse: The effectiveness as an umbrella for non-game sagebrush SGCN

Juvenile greater sage grouse


July 2011 - June 2018


The greater sage-grouse is frequently considered a promising umbrella species for the management of co-occurring wildlife species within North American sagebrush steppe (Rich and Altman 2001, Wisdom et al. 2005, Rowland et al. 2006). Sage-grouse are well-studied, habitat specialists, have large home ranges, and are already the target of extensive conservation and management efforts. Previous analyses of sage-grouse as an umbrella species, however, have revealed potential issues that must be addressed before accepting the use of the sage-grouse as an effective single-species surrogate. In some areas, for example, spatial overlap in habitat use of other species of concern with sage-grouse was low (Wisdom et al. 2005). Moreover, the issue of course- versus fine-scale resolution is important; if large areas of sagebrush are maintained for sage-grouse protection, they will inevitably protect at least some other sagebrush species. Management for particular habitat elements at smaller scales, however, may be unwarranted and potentially detrimental to other species.
Specific Study Objectives:
1) Model the spatial and habitat overlap of non-game sagebrush focal species (see Table 1) with proposed sage-grouse core areas.
2) Examine the occurrence of focal species across sage-grouse core area designations.
3) Evaluate the reproductive success of the three other sagebrush-obligate birds (Brewer’s sparrow, sage sparrow, sage thrasher) across habitat and core area gradients at multiple spatial scales in order to rigorously test assumptions of the umbrella species concept.
4) Develop recommendations for the efficacy of using sage-grouse as an umbrella species for wildlife management in Wyoming.

Research Products and Activities

Technical Publications

  • 2012 Annual - The Effectiveness of Sage-Grouse Core Areas as an Umbrella for Non-Game Species Abstract |

Current Staff

Federal Staff: 102

Masters Students: 241

Phd Students: 163

Post Docs: 58

University Staff: 240

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 703

Scientific Publications: 1901

Presentations: 4321



Funding Agencies

  • Berry Biodiversity Institute
  • Laramie Audubon
  • Lyman & Margie McDonald Scholarship
  • WEST Research Scholarship
  • Wyoming Game and Fish Department


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