We conducted a structured search of three reference databases-Web of Science, Scopus (accessed through the USGS Library), and Google Scholar (accessed through Publish or Perish)-using the search term "greater sage-grouse." The search returned all items containing the search term in the product title, abstract, keywords, main text, or references (that is, a "topic" search). Products containing the search term only in the references were subsequently excluded. The initial search was focused on products published between January 1, 2015, and November 6, 2017. Follow-up searches captured products published or available online (such as early-view publications) as of January 6, 2018.
We refined the initial list of products in four ways. First, we removed duplicate items. Second, we retained only those articles with the phrase "greater sage-grouse" present in the article title, abstract, or author-supplied keywords (when available) and in the main text of the article to ensure that the article focus was GRSG. Third, we excluded products that were not published as research or scientific review articles in peer-reviewed journals or as formal technical reports; this exclusion helped ensure that all products presented final work that had gone through a structured peer-review process. Accordingly, we excluded editorial content (such as policy perspectives and commentaries), government reports without evidence of a formal peer-review process (such as project and annual reports without a technical series or volume number and a permanent digital object identifier), conference abstracts, article preprints, articles in magazines (for which there was no reference to a peer-review process), articles in journals for which we could not find evidence of a comprehensive peer-review process, theses, dissertations, manuscripts not yet in press, and books. Finally, we excluded any remaining articles or reports that, upon review, did not have content of clear relevance to conservation and management of GRSG. For example, we excluded articles that were primarily about another species with GRSG mentioned only in passing, often in the introduction or discussion for context or comparison.
We parsed the final list of articles and reports among five scientists to develop summaries of each product. Each scientist then read each article or report, summarized its contents using a consistent structure (table 1), and identified the management topics it addressed (table 2).
Location information included both the state(s) or province(s) and the Sage-Grouse Management Zone(s) where the research was conducted (figure 1), when possible. In some cases, however, specific location information was not clear in the article/report.
Considerable information was distilled from each article/report in developing the summary. The target length for summaries was short (250-300 words); as a result, the source documents should always be consulted directly for more specific information.
Table 1. Information categories in each summary.
|Background||A short description of the background and context for the study, explaining in essence why the study was needed.|
|Objectives||A concise statement of the study objectives.|
|Methods||A general description of study methods, including sample sizes and years and analysis approaches.|
|Location||The location (state(s) or province(s) and Sage-Grouse Management Zone(s)) where the study took place.|
|Findings||A description of the main findings of the study. If the study addressed multiple species, this section focused on results related to GRSG.|
|Implications||A brief description of broader implications or management relevance of the study findings as they were stated in the article or report.|
|Topics||A list of the management topics addressed by the study.|
The scientist responsible for each article/report assessed its content relevant to a structured set of management topics that included GRSG biology and habitat characteristics along with potential management actions, land uses, and environmental factors related to GRSG management and conservation (table 2). These management topics were derived from a number of sources, including a recent report examining consistency issues in BLM resource management plans across the GRSG range (U.S. Department of the Interior, 2017), a 2013 report summarizing objectives for the conservation and survival of GRSG (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2013), and conversations with USGS and BLM staff regarding additional GRSG science topics that they anticipated would be useful to document. Scientists also noted which articles/reports created new geospatial data, as such data may be relevant for informing future GRSG management decisions. The list of GRSG management topics was not meant to be exhaustive, but rather it is meant to be used as a tool to facilitate searching and use of the article summaries for future science, policy, and management purposes.
Figure 1. The current and historic distribution of greater sage-grouse habitat in the western United States and the seven Greater sage-grouse Management Zones in the western United States. (Data from U.S. Geological Survey 2014a, b, 2016.)
Table 2. Management topics assessed for each journal article/report included in the bibliography. [GRSG, greater sage-grouse]
|Survival||Study quantified GRSG survival rates, often in relation to environmental conditions.|
|Behavior or demographics||Study measured or modeled aspects of GRSG behavior or demographics (for example, seasonal movements, reproductive success, vital rates).|
|Population estimates or targets||Study estimated or modeled GRSG population numbers, trends, dynamics, assessment methods, or responses to the environment.|
|Captive breeding||Study developed methods for or evaluated the success of GRSG captive breeding efforts.|
|Translocation||Study developed methods for or evaluated the success of GRSG translocation efforts.|
|Genetics||Study used genetic evidence to investigate GRSG biology (for example, population structure, connectivity, behavior).|
|Broad-scale habitat characteristics||Study addressed landscape-level habitat characteristics (for example, size, number, or connectivity of habitat patches; characteristics of linkage areas; effects of landscape context on habitat quality; availability or use of seasonal habitats), usually across large areas.|
|Site-scale habitat characteristics||Study addressed habitat characteristics at the local level (for example, nest sites, brood-rearing areas), typically based on field measurement of vegetation or soils.|
|Habitat selection||Study analyzed habitat characteristics selected by GRSG, typically based on a combination of habitat characterization and telemetry or direct observations of individual GRSG.|
|Habitat restoration or reclamation||Study addressed methods for habitat restoration or the responses of GRSG or their habitat to habitat reclamation or restoration efforts.|
|New geospatial data||Study created new geospatial data relevant to GRSG policy, planning, or management.|
|Human dimensions or economics||Study addressed the human dimensions or economics of GRSG policy, planning, or management.|
|Effect distances or spatial scale||Study addressed the spatial scale or distance effects of ecological or anthropogenic features on GRSG (for example, estimated distance that GRSG may be displaced by or respond to a disturbance or environmental feature).|
|Hunting||Study addressed the effect of hunting on GRSG populations or demographics.|
|Recreation||Study addressed the effects of recreation infrastructure (such as trails) or activities on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Predators or predator control||Study addressed predator populations, the effects of predators on GRSG, or the effects of predator control on GRSG.|
|Fire or fuel breaks||Study addressed the effects of fire or fuel breaks on GRSG or their habitat.|
|Nonnative invasive plants||Study addressed the effects of nonnative invasive plant species (or efforts to control those species) on GRSG or their habitat (including fuels and fire).|
|Sagebrush removal||Study addressed the effects of intentional sagebrush removal treatments on GRSG or their habitat.|
|Conifer expansion||Study quantified the effects of conifer expansion on GRSG or their habitat.|
|Wild horses and burros||Study addressed the effects of wild horses or burros on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Herbivory/grazing||Study addressed the effects of herbivory (wild or domestic) on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Fences||Study assessed the direct effects of fences on GRSG survival or behavior.|
|Other range management structures||Study addressed effects of other range improvement structures (for example, water developments, mineral licks) on GRSG, their habitat, or their predators.|
|Energy development||Study quantified effects of energy development on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Mining||Study quantified effects of mining on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Ex-urban development||Study addressed effects of ex-urban development on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Infrastructure||Study addressed effects of various other infrastructure elements (for example, roads, pipelines, powerlines, cell towers) on GRSG habitat, predators, populations, or individuals.|
|Agricultural conversion||Study addressed effects of agriculture and agricultural conversion on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Weather and climate||Study addressed the effects of weather or climate on GRSG habitat, populations, or individuals.|
|Other||Study is focused on another aspect of GRSG biology or ecology not listed above.|
As a first step in developing the article/report summaries, the team of scientists independently read, summarized, and identified management topics for a small number of articles. Results were compared and questions resolved to help foster consistency in the article/report summaries and the categorization of management topics for the document.