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    Author(s): Bruce L. Welch
    Date: 2005
    Source: Gen. Tech Rep. RMRS-GTR-144. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 210 p
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: View PDF  (2.2 MB)

    Description

    Pioneers traveling along the Oregon Trail from western Nebraska, through Wyoming and southern Idaho and into eastern Oregon, referred to their travel as an 800 mile journey through a sea of sagebrush, mainly big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). Today approximately 50 percent of the sagebrush sea has given way to agriculture, cities and towns, and other human developments. What remains is further fragmented by range management practices, creeping expansion of woodlands, alien weed species, and the historic view that big sagebrush is a worthless plant. Two ideas are promoted in this report: (1) big sagebrush is a nursing mother to a host of organisms that range from microscopic fungi to large mammals, and (2) many range management practices applied to big sagebrush ecosystems are not science based.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Welch, Bruce L. 2005. Big sagebrush: A sea fragmented into lakes, ponds, and puddles. Gen. Tech Rep. RMRS-GTR-144. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 210 p

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    Keywords

    Artemisia tridentata, distribution, canopy cover relationships, fire interval, nutritive value

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