Assessing the Regional Response of Avian and Small Mammal Sagebrush Communities to Pinyon and Juniper Tree Removal

Green Tailed Towhee sitting in juniper tree

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are clearing large tracts of pinyon and juniper woodlands (PJ) across the Great Basin in an effort to maintain sagebrush habitat for the Greater sage-grouse. These large, spatially replicated management treatments provide an opportunity to investigate the impacts of woodland removal on both those species that are reliant on sagebrush and those more reliant on PJ woodlands.

This project quantifies how alterations in vegetation community structure from woodland removal affects avian and small mammal communities, especially those species that are dependent on sagebrush. Little is known about how many of these species use and depend on sagebrush and PJ habitat, and thus it is critical that a better understanding of how populations and communities are structured prior to, during, and after woodland removals in order to gauge the effectiveness of this management intervention for restoring functioning sagebrush ecosystems.