Shrub Grassland

  • Vesper Sparrow

    Photograph by Bob Martinka

  • Say's Phoebe

    Photograph by Kristi DuBois

  • Small Footed Myotis

    Photograph by Kristi DuBois

  • Vesper Sparrow

    Photograph by Bob Martinka

  • Pronhorn

    Photograph by Bernie Smith

  • Mule Deer

    Photograph by FWP Staff

  • Olive Backed Pocket Mouse

    Photograph by Adam Messer

  • Plains Spadefoot Toad

    Photograph by Adam Messer

  • Short-horned Lizard

    Photograph by Bernie Smith

  • Common Sagebrush Lizard

    Photograph by Kristi DuBois



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.

Discover Shrub Grasslands

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.

Go See Shrub Grassland Fish & Wildlife


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.

Go See Shrub Grassland Vegetation
Shrub Grassland areas of Montana

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Shrub Grassland Statistics

Shrub Grassland:

7.7% of the state


10" to 16"


Most of the major soil categories found in Montana, except for those of alpine and subalpine situations, are represented in this ecosystem


Flat plains to steep sloped valleys

For more details see the CFWCS