Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists study effects of grazing on grouse habitat

Date:
April 30, 2010
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
Scientists are taking a careful look at how grazing cattle affect sage-grouse habitat on high desert rangelands.

New research by ARS scientists highlights how ranchers can help preserve sage grouse habitat with careful grazing management.
Credit: Photo by Stephen Ausmus

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center in Burns, Ore., are taking a careful look at how grazing cattle affect sage-grouse habitat on high desert rangelands.

Cattle share this habitat with sage-grouse, which are chicken-sized birds that are notorious for the showy commotion they create during mating season. But the sage-grouse numbers have declined throughout their range, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has added the species as a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection. FWS will review the status of the sage-grouse annually to determine whether it warrants more immediate attention for being listed as an endangered species.

If the sage-grouse is listed, this would increase scrutiny of management practices on rangelands that provide habitat for the species. The birds depend on sagebrush and the grasses growing beneath these shrubs to provide food and a safe place to nest and raise their young.

Ranchers worry that an increased emphasis on management for sage-grouse habitat could limit their use of rangelands. Such a limitation could seriously threaten the livelihood of ranchers who graze their animals on public lands.

ARS rangeland scientists David Ganskopp (now retired) and Chad Boyd studied cattle grazing patterns on sagebrush communities. They found that cattle first preferred to graze on perennial grass growing between sagebrush plants. These grasses between sagebrush plants were called "interspace" tussocks, which are the individual grass plants.

When cattle consumed around 40 percent of the interspace tussocks, they then began to graze on the tussocks growing beneath sagebrush itself. The researchers also noted that grass tussocks under spreading, umbrella-shaped shrub canopies were less likely to be grazed than tussocks beneath erect, narrow canopies.

Boyd and Ganskopp concluded that ranchers could preserve grouse habitat by monitoring the rate at which cattle were consuming interspace tussocks and moving them to new grazing lands when 40 percent of the interspace tussock had been consumed. Their findings also suggest that cattle impacts on grouse nesting habitats may be affected by site factors like sagebrush shape and stature that are not readily controlled with grazing management.

Results from this study were published in Rangeland Ecology & Management.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Scientists study effects of grazing on grouse habitat." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100430131235.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2010, April 30). Scientists study effects of grazing on grouse habitat. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100430131235.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Scientists study effects of grazing on grouse habitat." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100430131235.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins