A synthesis of the human dimensions of sagebrush ecosystem management and identified gaps

Wittman, Tessa
To protect species of concern, ecosystem managers and policy makers must understand the human dimensions of the ecosystems those species rely on. In recent years sagebrush ecosystems have been of particular concern in part due the decline of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). While there is a substantial body of literature on the biophysical aspects of sagebrush ecosystems, the human dimensions of sagebrush management are not well understood. We conducted a synthesis of literature to assess existent knowledge and identify critical areas for future research. Using Web of Science literature searches, we followed predetermined and standardized protocols utilizing keywords sourced from our research questions, stakeholders, and known relevant literature. We cast a broad net to include studies from economics, political science, social psychology, sociology, governance, anthropology, and other fields. We identified 78 studies meeting the following criteria 1) the research was conducted within the distribution of North American sagebrush (Artemesia spp.) and 2) the research included human dimensions or social science methods. We coded the 78 studies to identify resource issue(s), social issue(s), geographical region, and additional research needs. The literature focused on resource issues primarily related to grazing, land use, sage-grouse, and rangeland management. Social issues emphasized collaboration, stakeholder perceptions and attitudes, and modes of governance. Calls for additional research include assessing effective communication methods and information delivery and understanding what tools and methods are successful for inclusive collaboration. Significant research gaps remain to better understand the ecological outcomes that can be achieved when incorporating social science into ecosystem management.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Wyoming. Libraries
Research Projects
Organizational Units
Journal Issue
social science,human dimensions,sagebrush,collaboration,social-ecological systems,rangeland
Embedded videos