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The Social Landscape of Sagebrush in Idaho

Idaho landscape featuring sagebrush and grasses, with foothills in the background
Photo Credit: Haley Netherton-Morrison


With changes occurring in both the sagebrush landscapes and human populations in Idaho, members of the GEM3 Stakeholder Advisory Groups (SAGs) have identified a need to bridge the gap in the ecological and economic data available in their communities. The social landscape of sagebrush project responds to this need by exploring and mapping the diversity of perspectives about sagebrush in the state of Idaho. As collaborative efforts emerge to address these changes to the landscape and populations in Idaho, more attention is needed on public opinion about and values for sagebrush steppe. Through understanding what perspectives (i.e., “public opinion and values”) exist and where they exist on the landscape, regional land use planners and managers will be better equipped to tailor decisions to local needs and identify areas of collaboration and conflict.

Project Highlights

  • Emerged from stakeholders’ desire to spatially assess Idahoans’ evaluations of sagebrush steppe in order to identify areas of shared and conflicting values
  • Developing and testing a typology of values that better reflects the values Idahoans hold for sagebrush landscapes through interviews, a statewide survey, and Q methodology
  • Investigating the patterns in values for sagebrush landscapes, as well as preferences for management and perceived threats using interviews and a statewide survey
  • Mapping county-level estimates of public opinion for sagebrush steppe management to inform regional land use planning decisions that support sustainability of sagebrush landscapes and rural livelihood.
  • Collaborating with the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission on the statewide survey to continue their longitudinal work to understand attitudes toward Idaho’s rangelands, supporting rangelands management and educational efforts


  • Haley Netherton-Morrison, Boise State University
  • Kelly Hopping, Boise State University
  • Morey Burnham, Idaho State University
  • Rebecca Som Castellano, Boise State University
  • Matt Williamson, Boise State University
  • J.D. Wulfhorst, University of Idaho
  • Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission

Links and More Information


This project is supported by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under award number OIA-1757324.  The statewide survey of the Values Mapping Project is also supported through our partnership with the Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission.

Idaho Rangeland Resources Commission

GEM 3 Genes by Environment - modeling, mechanisms, mapping Idaho EPSCoR