Reversing tree expansion in sagebrush steppe yields population-level benefit for imperiled grouse

Fire in piyon-juniper

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Retrospective sensitivity analysis suggested the dynamics in populations growth rates were driven by increases in juvenile, adult, first nest, and yearling survival in the Treatment relative to the Control. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of targeted conifer removal as a management strategy for conserving sage-grouse populations in sagebrush steppe affected by conifer expansion. Examples of positive, population-level responses to habitat management are exceptionally rare for terrestrial vertebrates, and this study provides promising evidence of active management that can be implemented to aid recovery of an imperiled species and biome.

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