Maladaptive nest-site selection by a sagebrush dependent species in a grazing-modified landscape

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Using the greater sage-grouse, a species highly dependent upon sagebrush landscapes, we (1) evaluated how females select nesting habitats based on sagebrush type, along with livestock grazing related linear and point features, and other biotic, abiotic characteristics, given hypothesized influences on hiding cover, microclimate and predator travel routes and perches, (2) compared habitat selection information with results for nest survival estimates to evaluate if selection appears to be adaptive or not, and (3) used our results to evaluate the most appropriate strategies for this species in a grazing-modified landscape.

Nest survival in preferred sagebrush type was one-fourth the rate in type avoided. Nest survival was four times higher when placed >100 m away from nearest fence. Timing of graze could best achieve herbaceous requirements for successful nesting. Fence modifications along with prioritization of sagebrush type are discussed.

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