Document Type

Fossil Butte National Monument

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The structurally-complex stands of sagebrush that are important as wildlife habitat are rapidly disappearing because of conversion to irrigated agriculture, spraying and brush removal treatments, wildfires, and intensive grazing. These sagebrush-dominated steppe habitats support a variety of wildlife species. For some, they serve as year-round home ranges; for others, as critical winter or transitional habitats. The pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) is an example of an extreme specialist, solely restricted in its distribution to such sagebrush-dominated steppe habitats, and typically associated with dense stands of big sage (Artemisia tridentata). Most known populations now are declining.