• Effects of Conversion From Sagebrush to Non-Native Grasslands on Sagebrush-Associated Species

      Rottler, Caitlin M.; Noseworthy, Cara E.; Fowers, Beth; Beck, Jeffrey L. (Society for Range Management, 2015-12-01)
      On the Ground • There are as many as 170 vertebrate wildlife species throughout the western United States and Canada that are associated with and sometimes dependent on sagebrush habitats and can be negatively affected by conversion of sagebrush ecosystems to non-native perennial or annual grassland. • We briefly summarize the mechanisms responsible for this conversion and synthesize its effects on wildlife species that are not often in the spotlight, as well as potential effects on management efforts. • Conversion to non-native annual grasslands is especially difficult for sagebrush obligates because annual grass dominance of former sagebrush sites increases fire frequency, effectively eliminating the ability of functioning sagebrush communities to re-establish following burning. • Conversion to non-native perennial grasslands also negatively affects sagebrush obligates, because non-native perennial grasses are able to grow in monocultures that compete with native plants and prevent their re-establishment in areas that are dominated by non-native perennials.