Multi-Scale Assessment of Wildlife Response After Juniper Removal in a Sagebrush Steppe Landscape

This research will evaluate the effects of pinyon and juniper (PJ) removal in support of greater sage-grouse while accounting for influence of treatment type, phase of pre-removal woodland development, and landscape-level variables on avian and mammal community composition and abundance, potential changes in the predation risk for greater sage-grouse, and vegetation characteristics relevant to wildlife habitat. The researchers will study the wildlife impacts of Idaho’s Bruneau-Owyhee Sage-grouse Habitat project that will remove approximately 600,000 acres of juniper across a landscape of ~1.5 million acres over the next 15 years to reverse sage-grouse habitat loss caused by woodland encroachment. By monitoring the effects of the project on wildlife, they will address the following questions: 1) How will removal of junipers affect distribution and abundance of PJ and sagebrush-obligate species?, 2) How will juniper removal affect the abundance or activity of more generalist species, including those identified as important predators of sage grouse?, and 3) What are the key environmental and vegetation conditions that most influence distribution and abundance of both groups of species?

Theme: Disturbance and Development, Fish and Wildlife

Project start date:

Fiscal year funded: 2016

Project status: Active

Project managers: Tracey Johnson, University of Idaho (Lead); Doug Shinneman, David Pilliod, and Todd Katzner, United States Geological Survey