Restoration Handbook for Sagebrush-Steppe, Part 1 - USGS Report

This Restoration Handbook consists of three parts with the same main title, "Restoration Handbook for Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystems with Emphasis on Greater Sage-Grouse Habitat." These parts provide an approach for effective implementation of restoration practices in sagebrush steppe ecosystems. The current document summarizes the literature and synthesizes core concepts that are necessary for a practitioner/manager to apply tools to help make landscape and site-specific decisions. Landscape-level decision tools are designed to help managers prioritize resource allocation among multiple potential restoration projects for achieving the greatest benefit at the landscape level. We are examining how restoration of sagebrush steppe can benefit habitat for sage-grouse. . . In addition, we are emphasizing greater sage-grouse because they are an umbrella species within this region where other wildlife species that depend on resilient sagebrush grassland communities will benefit from this restoration. There are additional objectives for restoration of sagebrush grasslands beyond greater sage-grouse habitat, for example, improving rangeland biological diversity, reducing and controlling invasive plant dominance, and improving the stability of livestock forage. For site-level decisions, managers will decide to use passive or active restoration techniques and will learn how to select appropriate plant species and techniques for restoration of sagebrush ecosystems. Landscape prioritization tools and project-level restoration tools use concepts of ecosystem resilience to disturbances and resistance to invasion by annual grasses. We stress that these invasions are the largest threat to sagebrush steppe ecosystems and that restoration, if successful, is a means for reducing this threat and improving greater sage-grouse habitat. Decisions at the landscape- and site-level will be enhanced through knowledge gained by understanding and applying concepts presented in this document.