U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Wildlife Society Bulletin 2000, 28(1):90-96.


Prescribed burning is a common method to eliminate sagebrush (Artemisia spp.) and has been suggested as a tool to enhance the habitat of sage grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). Effects of this practice on sage grouse have not been evaluated rigorously. We studied effects of prescribed fire on lek (traditional breeding display areas) attendance by male sage grouse occupying low-precipitation (<26 cm) sagebrush habitats in south- eastern Idaho from 1986 through 1994. During the preburn period (1986-89), average declines for male attendance were 48% and 46% for treatment and control leks, respectively. Lek counts were similar for treatment and control leks during the preburn years (G-test, 0.25>P>0.10). During the postburn period (1990-94), male attendance at treatment leks declined 90% and control leks declined 63%. Although declines were similar between treatment and control leks during the preburn period, postburn declines were greater for treatment than control leks (0.05