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Shrub Grassland
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Shrub Grassland areas of Montana

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Shrub Grassland Statistics

Shrub Grassland: 7.7% of the state
Precipitation: 10" to 16"
Soils: Most of the major soil catergories found in Montana, except for those of alpine and subalpine situations, are represented in this ecosystem
Topography: Flat plains to steep sloped valleys
For more details see the CFWCS


The shrub grassland ecosystem occurs in widely separated segments across most of the eastern half of the state in high- elevation valleys and along non-forested slopes. The junipers and sagebrushes that characterize these generally dry slopes only make up 8 percent of Montana's land. They are interspersed with low cover grasslands and offer a unique transitional area habitat that supports many of Montana's species of greatest conservation need. Over half of this limited ecosystem is privately owned.

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Shrub Grassland

Fish & Wildlife

The shrub grassland is home to a variety of wildlife species such as mule deer, western meadowlarks, and prairie rattlesnakes. The sagebrush found here is a necessary part of the habitats for sage grouse, common sagebrush lizard, sage thrasher, and pygmy rabbit.


Plants of this ecosystem are dominated by sagebrush - giant and silver sage - and grasses. Sagebrush have specialized leaves that prevent evaporation and a root structure that spreads out to collect as much available moisture as possible.