Comparison of conservation policy benefits for an umbrella and related sagebrush-obligate species

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This study compared trends of sagebrush-obligate songbirds from the Breeding Bird Survey and sage-grouse lek counts in 2 sage-grouse populations in Wyoming 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.

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