Primary Management Implications
The primary management implications related to “core” areas are illustrated in Coates et al. 2015, Figure 12, which illustrates projected sage-grouse population change from 2015 to 2045.
The projections were modeled under three different scenarios of decreased rates of burning in core areas (columns; 25%, 75%, or 99% reduction in annual cumulative burned area), under three different levels of annual precipitation (rows; low, medium, and high precipitation). The black horizontal line in each graph represents stable population trends in that scenario. The blue bands represent populations in core areas, while the red bands represent populations outside of core areas.
The key take home messages are:
- Reducing the rate of annual cumulative burned area by only 25% in defined ‘core areas’ (left column) did little to prevent population declines under any of the modeled precipitation conditions.
- Reducing the rate of annual cumulative burned area by 75% (middle column) in core areas slowed the rate of population decline under below-average precipitation conditions (top), stabilized population growth under normal precipitation conditions (middle), and resulted in population growth under above-average precipitation conditions (bottom).
- A near complete cessation of fire in core areas (right column) resulted in increased population growth under all precipitiation conditions, especially for normal (middle) and high precipitation (bottom).