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Species at Risk Emergency Protection Orders and Non-Targeted Species

March 1, 2017

March 2017 Wildlands Advocate article, by Ian Urquhart

Those interested in species at risk likely are familiar with the term “umbrella” species. An umbrella species, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Environment and Conservation, is: “(a) species of plant or animal that has a large home range and broad habitat requirements, both of which over-lap with other species, so that if it is given a large enough area for its own protection the other species will also benefit.” I have seen the phrase used in the context of grizzly bear conservation. Here I am interested in two questions: May endangered greater sage-grouse on our prairie landscapes be viewed as an umbrella species? If so, will efforts to protect and restore greater sage-grouse and sage-grouse habitat, such as the federal emergency protection order, benefit other species that depend on sagebrush habitat?

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