The umbrella species concept holds promise as a shortcut to broad-reaching wildlife management and conservation. In this project, we assessed whether dozens of at-risk wildlife species benefit under the umbrella of sage-grouse conservation efforts in Wyoming, and why.
Wildlife managers, tasked with conserving a growing number of imperiled species, often turn to an approach known as proxy conservation. Under this approach, managers focus their efforts on one carefully selected surrogate species, with the expectation that management actions aimed at the surrogate species will incidentally benefit multiple species of conservation interest. An umbrella species is one form of surrogate, where the area requirements of one species (the umbrella) are used to delineate a protected area meant to benefit many species.
Wildlife managers and policy makers have implemented the Greater Sage-Grouse as an umbrella species here in the West, and Core Areas of sage-grouse breeding habitat have been designated as semi-protected areas in many western states/provinces. While the goal of these semi-protected areas is to stave off declines in sage-grouse populations, many are hopeful that numerous species will benefit under the umbrella of sage-grouse conservation efforts.
Reports & Publications
Jason Carlisle, PhD (project conducted as dissertation research)
Anna Chalfoun, PhD
Assistant Unit Leader
WY Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Dept. 3166, 1000 E. University Avenue
Laramie, WY 82071
lab: (307) 766-5415
Fall 2011: Project began as dissertation research of Jason Carlisle.
Spring/Summers 2012-2013: Field research conducted in central Wyoming.
January 2014: Sage-grouse habitat treatments implemented in study area.
Spring/Summers 2014-2015: Field research conducted in central Wyoming.
Spring 2017: Project concluded. Jason Carlisle defended dissertation.
Funding & Partners
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
- Wyoming Sage-Grouse Local Working Groups (Southwest & Wind River/Sweetwater River Basin)
- Wyoming INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) Program
- University of Wyoming Biodiversity Institute
- Laramie Audubon Society
UW Ecosystem Science and Management:
Dr. Jeff Beck & Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Melanie Murphy
WY Natural Diversity Database:
Dr. Doug Keinath
WY Geographic Information Science Center:
Dr. Shannon Albeke
WY Game and Fish Dept.:
Martin Grenier, Tom Christiansen, Andrea Orabona, Stan Harter