Sagebrush Steppe and Pinyon-Juniper Ecosystems: Effects of Changing Fire Regimes, Increased Fuel Loads, and Invasive Species

Jeanne C. Chambers, E. Durant McArthur, Steven B. Monson, Susan E. Meyer, Nancy L. Shaw, Robin J. Tausch, Robert R. Blank, Steve Bunting, Richard R. Miller, Mike Pellant, Bruce A. Roundy, Scott C. Walker, Alison Whittaker
Posted on: 7/18/2022 - Updated on: 11/07/2023

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Pinyon-juniper woodlands and Wyoming big sagebrush ecosystems have undergone major changes in vegetation structure and composition since settlement by European Americans. These changes are resulting in dramatic shifts in fire frequency, size and severity. Effective management of these systems has been hindered by lack of information on:

  1. Pre-settlement fire regimes and the spatial and temporal changes that have occurred in Intermountain Region woodlands and sagebrush ecosystems since settlement
  2. Changes in fuel loads and the consequences for the ecosystem types and conditions that currently exist on the landscape
  3. Environmental and ecological factors that influence community susceptibility to invasion by non-native species.

This project utilized an integrated, collaborative project of the Joint Fire Sciences Program to address each of these information needs. The project duration was from October 1, 2000 to September 30, 2005.


Chambers, Jeanne C.; McArthur, E. Durant; Monson, Steven B.; Meyer, Susan E.; Shaw, Nancy L.; Tausch, Robin J.; Blank, Robert R.; Bunting, Steve; Miller, Richard R.; Pellant, Mike; Roundy, Bruce A.; Walker, Scott C.; Whittaker, Alison. 2005. Sagebrush steppe and pinyon-juniper ecosystems: effects of changing fire regimes, increased fuel loads, and invasive species. Joint Fire Sciences Report. Project #00-1-1-03. 66 p.

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Research has been part of the Forest Service mission since the agency’s inception in 1905. The Rocky Mountain Research Station (RMRS) is an integral component of USDA Forest Service Research and Development (R&D). 

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