Great Plains Natural Science Society


The Prairie Naturalist

Date of this Version


Document Type



The Prairie Naturalist 47: 115–116. 2015


Published by the Great Plains Natural Science Society. Used by permission.


Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus; sage-grouse) have experienced long-term range-wide population declines and now may occupy less than 50% of their historic range (Schroeder et al. 2004). Conifer encroachment into sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) habitat was identified as a major conservation threat by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) as the agency reviewed the listing status of the species for possible protection under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (USFWS 2013).

Conifer encroachment into sagebrush habitats negatively impacts sage-grouse at landscape scales (Doherty et al. 2008, Casazza et al. 2011, Baruch-Mordo et al. 2013). Sage-grouse will utilize areas following conifer removal (Frey et al. 2013, Cook 2015). However, to date no one has documented sage- grouse nesting behavior as an immediate response to recently completed conifer removal projects (Knick et al. 2014).