Pronghorn – Grassland Indicator
The Northern Sagebrush Steppe (NSS) is the northern terminus of sagebrush steppe and grassland habitats and is also the northern range limit for a variety of species. Through multiple anthropogenic pressures, native prairie continues to be converted and fragmented across the region and as a result, increased stress on wildlife populations and overall ecosystem function occurs. For wildlife species in this system, maintaining connectivity between seasonal ranges and core habitats is vital in mitigating environmental and anthropogenic pressures. Because pronghorn are well-distributed across the landscape, move and operate at large landscape scales, are sensitive to both environmental and anthropogenic pressures, and are highly regarded in public perception, we hypothesize that they can serve as an umbrella for other sagebrush steppe and grassland species at the periphery of their range. We published three papers, have an additional two papers under consideration, and have drafted another paper that will be submitted in late winter/early spring 2020. We continue to work on the assessment of pronghorn as an indicator species for a suite of grassland species. As results from our work become available, information will be disseminated to stakeholders, wildlife managers, and conservation groups to support efforts to restore and conserve movement patterns and grassland habitats.
Alberta Environment and Parks, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Miistakis Institute, Montana Department of Transportation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, National Wildlife Federation, Sagebrush Science Initiative (a collaboration between the US Fish and Wildlife Services
and Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies), Sage Grouse Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, University of British Columbia, University of Montana
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