Sagebrush responses to shifting climate and fire disturbances
This presentation by Matthew Germino, USGS Research Ecologist, will address issues confronting preservation and restoration of big sagebrush, focusing on climate, wildfire, and invasives. Preliminary and published insights on climate responses of sagebrush and implications for vulnerability assessments and post-fire restoration will be described. Responses of big sagebrush and competitors such as cheatgrass to climate manipulations are providing important insight on the ways in which sagebrush may resist or respond to warming or shifts in precipitation. Big sagebrush is a remarkably diverse species, and preliminary findings from common-garden studies are suggesting how the diversity is important for its climate responses and for selection of appropriate seed sources. Restoration success is largely a problem of initial seedling establishment, aside from post-restoration management and disturbance, and new studies are revealing how seedlings of different seed sources respond to climate and management treatments of herbs.