Why are Mixed Mountain Shrublands Important to the WLCI?
The mixed mountain shrub community is one of five priority habitat types identified by WLCI partners that provide crucial habitat for focal wildlife species. Information on the condition and distribution of priority habitats and of wildlife populations that rely on these habitats are needed to inform resource planning. The current extent and condition of mixed mountain shrub patches is unknown in most of the WLCI region; thus, trends in their condition and mechanisms driving those conditions are also unknown. Mapping efforts, which began in 2012, include currant, gooseberry, and sumac species, “true” mountain mahogany and curl-leaf mountain mahogany, chokecherry, antelope bitterbrush, and snowberry. WLCI habitat conservation projects aim to preserve or improve condition in these priority habitats.
How Can Better Maps of Mixed Mountain Shrublands Help With Conservation Planning?
Maps and other information from this work help to support WLCI partners with conservation planning and effectiveness monitoring of habitat treatments. Treatments in mixed mountain shrublands are designed to enhance crucial winter and transition habitat for mule deer and include mowing, aeration, seeding, burning, and herbicide applications. The USGS continues to improve its approaches to mapping and modeling vegetation to support our ongoing mountain shrub and mule deer research.