Annotated Bibliography of Scientific Research on Pygmy Rabbits Published from 1990 to 2020

Open-File Report 2022-1003
By: , and 



Integrating recent scientific knowledge into management decisions supports effective natural resource management and can lead to better resource outcomes. However, finding and accessing scientific knowledge can be time consuming and costly. To assist in this process, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is creating a series of annotated bibliographies on topics of management concern for western lands. Previously published reports introduced a methodology for preparing annotated bibliographies to facilitate the integration of recent, peer-reviewed science into resource management decisions. Therefore, relevant text from those efforts is reproduced here to frame the presentation. Sagebrush ecosystems throughout North America face management challenges including habitat loss and fragmentation. Brachylagus idahoensis (pygmy rabbits) are a sagebrush-obligate species that has experienced population declines and range contraction in recent decades. A disjunct population of pygmy rabbits in the Columbia Basin in Washington was listed as federally endangered in 2003. Due to their specialized habitat requirements and low dispersal ability, pygmy rabbits are a high priority for managers throughout their range. We compiled and summarized peer-reviewed journal articles, data products, and formal technical reports (such as U.S. Forest Service General Technical Reports and U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Reports) on pygmy rabbits published between January 1, 1990 and December 31, 2020. We first conducted a structured search of three reference databases and three government databases using the phrase “pygmy rabbit” or “Brachylagus idahoensis.” We refined the initial list of products by removing (1) duplicates, (2) products not written in English, (3) publications that were not focused on North America, (4) publications that were not published as research, data products, or scientific review articles in peer-reviewed journals or as formal technical reports, and (5) products for which pygmy rabbits were not a research focus or for which the study did not present new data or findings about pygmy rabbits. We summarized each product using a consistent structure (background, objectives, methods, location, findings, and implications) and identified the management topics (for example, captive breeding, habitat characteristics, and population estimates) addressed by each product. We also noted which publications included new publicly available geospatial data. The review process for this annotated bibliography included an initial internal colleague review of each summary, requesting input on each summary from an author of the original publication, and a formal peer review. Our initial searches resulted in 2,285 total products, of which 105 met our criteria for inclusion. Sensitive/rare wildlife, behavior or demographics, site-scale habitat characteristics, habitat selection, and effects distances or spatial scale were the management topics most commonly addressed. The online version of this bibliography, Science for Resource Managers, will be searchable by topic, location, and year; it will include links to each original publication, where available. The studies compiled and summarized here may inform planning and management actions that seek to maintain and restore sagebrush landscapes and associated native species across the western United States.

Suggested Citation

Kleist, N.J., Willems, J.S., Bencin, H.L., Foster, A.C., McCall, L.E., Meineke, J.K., Poor, E.E., and Carter, S.K., 2022, Annotated bibliography of scientific research on pygmy rabbits published from 1990 to 2020: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2022–1003, 75 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results and Conclusions
  • References Cited
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Annotated bibliography of scientific research on pygmy rabbits published from 1990 to 2020
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2022-1003
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221003
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description viii, 75 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details