Greater Sage-Grouse depend on large, intact tracts of the sagebrush habitat. Current sage-grouse conservation plans focus on protecting selected “priority areas,” but these areas vary in size and proximity to each other–will they be able to sustain thriving, interconnected populations over time? A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications evaluates this approach. Small, isolated populations of sage-grouse are especially vulnerable to threats like wildfires and West Nile virus, and genetic diversity declines if birds don’t have the ability to occasionally interbreed with other groups. This study provides land managers with a new way to rank priority areas based on their contributions to connectivity. Using a statistical technique known as graph theory, Michele Crist, Steven Knick, and Steven Hanser of the U… Next »
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