From: Intermountain West Joint Venture:
December 2015 (Corvallis, Oregon) — Ecosystem restoration is complex and requires an understanding of how the land, plants, and animals all interact with each other over large areas and over time. The U.S. Geological Survey published a three-part handbook, part of which addresses restoration of sagebrush ecosystems from the landscape to the site level.
“Land managers do not have resources to restore all locations because of the extent of the restoration needed and are challenged to meet multiple management objectives, including restoring habitat for wildlife,” said David Pyke, USGS ecologist and lead author of the new USGS Circular. “Focusing restoration efforts on enhancing goals of a functioning landscape is necessary to gain the greatest benefit for sagebrush-steppe ecosystems.”
Part two of the handbook introduces habitat managers and restoration practitioners to a landscape restoration decision tool to assist them in determining landscape objectives, identifying and prioritizing landscape areas where sites for restoration projects might be located, and ultimately selecting restoration sites guided by criteria used to define the landscape objectives.
Photo by Hannah RyanThe tool is structured in five sections, addressed sequentially. Each section has related questions or statements to assist the user in addressing the primary question or statement:
“Most restoration projects are conducted at the site or local level,” said Pyke. “But where restoration projects occur influences whether benefits from those projects can be seen at a landscape level. This is especially important for species, such as the greater sage-grouse, whose home range can extend beyond the boundaries of an individual restoration site.”
Pyke noted that greater sage-grouse and sagebrush-steppe habitat is used in the handbook only as an example of landscape restoration. The process presented by this series can be modified and used for other landscape-related restoration issues as well.
Part one of the handbook introduced basic concepts about sagebrush ecosystems, landscape ecology and restoration ecology. Part two helps guide selection of potential sites for restoration from a landscape perspective. Part three will help guide restoration decisions at a selected site.
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