Sagebrush Ecosystem Conservation and Management: Ecoregional Assessment Tools and Models for the Wyoming Basins

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The Wyoming Basins are one of the remaining strongholds of the sagebrush ecosystem. However, like most sagebrush habitats, threats to this region are numerous. While no single threat can be attributed as the main cause of habitat loss and degradation, human land use is a common factor associated with the decline of the ecosystem. In the Wyoming Basins, energy development is an example of a disturbance that has grown rapidly over the past decade with increased demand for domestic energy production. The region contains ~41% of known domestic natural gas reserves, and a 50% increase in energy demand is predicted over the next 20 years. Within this context, our assessment was developed to provide an integrated process to delineate and quantify the level of threats to the sagebrush ecosystem and associated species of conservation concern in the Wyoming Basins and to produce information necessary for broad-scale natural resource management and planning to meet future development and energy demands.

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