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Overview of Shrub-Steppe

  1. What’s in a Name: Why Our Region Has So Many Names for Plant Communities by Susan Ballinger.
  2. Washington Wildlife by Woodland Park Zoo, Steppe habitats (pg.1-10) and Use this as general background reading, providing a big picture overview for the course. Hardcopy in the Class Loaner Box
  3. Eastside WA Plant Communities classification by Susan Ballinger. Six different field guide authors describe Eastern Washington’s plant communities from a variety of perspectives using slightly different  vocabulary, which are summarized in this single-page table.
  4. Common Shrub-steppe Species 1-page Background Information Cards for 30 different plants and animals. Pacific NW National Laboratory
  5. What About Shrub-steppe? Resource Card Background Information, Pacific NW National Laboratory.
  6. The Sagebush Sea PBS film, a 3-year collaboration project with Cornell Lab. View the entire film
  7. Observing the Methow’s Shrub-steppe, by Dana Visilli. A 2-page summary table of key components of shrub-steppe habitats, with interesting examples.
  8. Shrub-Steppe Plant Adaptations – newspaper article by Susan Ballinger.


Common shrub-steppe shrubs.  Photo field guide with key identification characteristics

Plants of the shrub-steppe – An introduction to plant ecology of the Washington’s shrub-steppe


  1. Why Care About America’s Sagebrush? A Fact sheet published by the USFWS.
  2. Taking the Pulse of our National Parks: Sagebrush Steppe Vital SignsNational Park Service.  00:08:41.
  3. Shrub-Steppe: Washington’s Disappearing Sea by Joe Rocchio. This is a well-written blog overview of the shrub-steppe ecosystem, with some good photographs. Visit his photo galleries documenting Washington’s biodiversity at