U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



2003 Wildlife Society Bulletin


Wildlife Society Bulletin 2003, 31(4):986-99 Peer refereed


Broad-scale information in concert with conservation of individual species must be used to develop conservation priorities and a more integrated ecosystem protection strategy. In 1999 the United States Forest Service initiated an approach for the 1.2 x 106 ha of national grasslands in the Northern Great Plains to fulfill the requirement to maintain viable populations of all native and desirable introduced vertebrate and plant species. The challenge was threefold: 1) develop basic building blocks in the conservation planning approach, 2) apply the approach to national grasslands, and 3) overcome differences that may exist in agency-specific legal and policy requirements. Key assessment components in the approach included a bioregional assessment, coarse-filter analysis, and fine-filter analysis aimed at species considered at-risk. A science team of agency, conservation organization, and university personnel was established to develop the guidelines and standards and other formal procedures for implementation of conservation strategies. Conservation strategies included coarse-filter recommendations to restore the tallgrass, mixed, and shortgrass prairies to conditions that approximate historical ecological processes and landscape patterns, and fine-filter recommendations to address viability needs of individual and multiple species of native animals and plants. Results include a cost-effective approach to conservation planning and recommendations for addressing population viability and biodiversity concerns on national grasslands in the Northern Great