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Title: Forbs: Foundation for restoration of monarch butterflies, other pollinators, and greater sage-grouse in the western United States

Author: Dumroese, Kas; Luna, Tara; Pinto, Jeremy; Landis, Thomas D.;

Date: 2016

Source: Natural Areas Journal. 36(4): 499-511.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)


Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), other pollinators, and Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) are currently the focus of increased conservation efforts. Federal attention on these fauna is encouraging land managers to develop conservation strategies, often without corresponding financial resources. This could foster a myopic approach when allocating resources and setting restoration priorities, and at best, allow for inefficiencies in the usage of land management resources, or, at worst, pit one species (or suite of species, e.g., pollinators) against another (e.g., sage-grouse). Instead, investing holistically by linking conservation of these fauna may provide improved leverage of available resources and more benefit to the landscape. Fortunately, on the western US rangelands, these fauna can all benefit from restoration that increases the abundance and diversity of forbs. Establishing high density islands of outplanted forb seedlings may be a way to expedite restoration. Managers establishing forbs for pollinators (including monarchs) would further increase food availability for greater sage-grouse and vice versa. Adding milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) in appropriate areas to forb mixtures for restoration is warranted because they are excellent nectar sources for pollinators in general and the sole host for monarch larvae in particular. Here, we provide an overview of why forb species are keystone for monarch butterflies, other pollinators, and Greater Sage-Grouse and how seeding and outplanting seedlings of specific forbs are critical to restoration efforts.

Keywords: Centrocercus urophasianus, Danaus plexippus, forbs, native plants, wildflowers

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Dumroese, R. Kasten; Luna, Tara; Pinto, Jeremiah R.; Landis, Thomas D. 2016. Forbs: Foundation for restoration of monarch butterflies, other pollinators, and greater sage-grouse in the western United States. Natural Areas Journal. 36(4): 499-511.


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