Ecological uncertainty of fuel breaks in the sagebrush steppe

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Linear fuel breaks may help reduce wildfire intensity and spread, and at the same time improve firefighting effectiveness, but their ecological impacts may include habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as facilitation of species movement. There is very little peer‐reviewed science available to inform land managers about the ecological effects of fuel breaks. As such, land managers may face trade‐offs with uncertain outcomes: either substantially alter habitats with fuel breaks to potentially minimize wildfire impacts or risk increased habitat loss and degradation from wildfire. The Great Basin region of the western US offers an opportunity to better understand the relative costs and benefits of fuel breaks, and to identify key knowledge gaps

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