17 May '18, 9am

Conservation Conundrum: Is Focusing on a Single Species a Good Strategy?

The study area was a central Wyoming site within both state and federally designated priority habitat for sage grouse. The treatment — mowing sagebrush to a height of about 10 inches — took place in February 2014, before bird nesting season, and covered a patchy mosaic in a stand of sagebrush that was otherwise uncut. Carlisle and his co-authors surveyed the area before treatment and for two years after. The result: A complete loss of nesting habitat for Brewer’s sparrow and sage thrasher in mowed patches. The mowing treatment also cut the overall abundance of sage thrashers in half. But vesper sparrows seemed to take advantage of the new habitat for nesting and became more abundant in mowed areas. The co-authors noted that the sagebrush could take decades to recover from the treatment — though the long-term effects on other sagebrush species are unknown. They also emphasi...

Full article: https://e360.yale.edu/features/conservation-conundrum-is-...

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