Sagebrush steppe ecosystems are one of the most imperiled ecosystems in North America due to a combination of threats from human and ecological factors. These same ecosystems are not well represented in the biodiversity-dedicated protected area network of the western United States, underscoring the value of NPS units that contain and manage steppe communities.
The HERS Lab and NPS are collaborating on a project to support evidence-based decision-making about sagebrush and bunchgrass steppe management in NPS units, with an emphasis on concepts of ecological resilience and resistance as they apply to fire and exotic plant management. Project products include a scientific synthesis of sagebrush steppe ecosystem responses to fire, exotic species invasion and associated management activities, which were then translated into management recommendations for John Day Fossil Beds. The project also includes geodatabases of compiled park geospatial sagebrush steppe inventory information, which can be used to prioritize landscapes within NPS parks for vegetation and fire management.