Effects of Spring Cattle Grazing on Sage-Grouse Demographic Traits

This project builds upon field experiments that began in 2014 to evaluate the effects of spring cattle grazing on sage-grouse habitat selection, insect abundance and sage-grouse demographic and behavioral traits. The research team is examining the relationship between cattle grazing and sage-grouse demography at multiple spatial scales: microhabitat (nest site), subpasture, pasture and allotment. They are also comparing three experimental grazing treatments (i.e., grazing regimes) 1) forage removed via spring-only cattle grazing; 2) forage removed via spring and fall cattle grazing, and 3) no livestock grazing for at least four consecutive years. They include the duration of spring cattle grazing in the analysis to account for the slight variation in turn-out dates and duration of spring grazing among allotments which may influence the extent to which spring grazing affects sage-grouse populations. They also measure insect abundance and the following sage-grouse habitat characteristics, both before and after experimental changes in cattle grazing intensity: sagebrush canopy cover and height, cover and height for other shrub species, and cover, height and percent biomass removal of each species of grass and forbs.

Theme: Disturbance and Development

Project start date:

Fiscal year funded: 2016

Project status: Active

Project managers: Courtney Conway (Lead) and Karen Launchbaugh, University of Idaho; Shane Roberts, Idaho Fish and Game; Paul Makela, Bureau of Land Management