Science Spotlight

WLFW's most impactful science and research.

WLFW's team of researchers and scientists work across the sagebrush and Great Plains grassland biomes to coproduce science that informs on-the-ground management and conservation.

These pages below shine a spotlight on some of WLFW's science and research efforts.

Three sagebrush songbrid species saw increased reproductive success after tree removal targeted at sage grouse in SW Montana.

Southwest Montana Sagebrush Songbird Research

From 2019-2022, researcher Elise Zarri and a crew of field technicians collected and analyzed abundance and demographic data for eight species of songbirds found in the sagebrush sea. Two of these were sagebrush obligates - the Brewer's Sparrow and the Sage Thrasher.

Zarri and her team looked at how the songbirds responded to conifer removal treatments designed and implemented to benefit sage grouse. They found that the sagebrush-obligate birds, along with the Vesper Sparrow - a more generalist species, had higher abundance and reproductive success where conifers had been removed than where the trees remained.

The team also collected some captivating video footage of baby birds, birds fledging, and even some depredation events. Check it out all the resources, including the videos, by clicking on the button below.

Warner Mountains Project

In southeastern Oregon's Warner Mountains, a long-term set of research projects examined the impacts of conifer on sagebrush habitat and on sage grouse.

Over the years, the researchers published nine different peer-reviewed articles, with the latest showing that removing encroaching conifers boosted sage grouse population growth rates by 12%.

Find all of these articles, a stunning video about the Warners, an interactive storymap, interviews with researchers, and more on the page linked below.

Map of study area in the Warner Mountains of Oregon. Credit: Andrew Olsen.