Evaluating Effects of Western Juniper Removal Treatments on Sage Grouse Habitat
Western juniper is a native tree that, due to fire exclusion and other reasons, has been expanding in range. Today, one of the greatest concerns with juniper encroachment is loss of sagebrush steppe which is core habitat for greater sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Greater sage grouse are a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act, and loss of habitat is one of the greatest threats. Western juniper encroachment crowds out native, perennial plants, and dramatically changes nutrient cycling on a site. This research will evaluate the effects of removal treatments including mastication, lop and lay, pile and burn, broadcast burn, and biomass removal on the understory herbaceous response, sagebrush recruitment, and nutrient cycling in the soil. Research will be conducted in Cassia and Owyhee Counties in south central and
southwest Idaho, and in Deschutes County, Oregon.