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Effects of time since fire on birds : how informative are generalized fire response curves for conservation management?

Watson, Simon J., Taylor, Rick S., Nimmo, Dale G., Kelly, Luke T., Haslem, Angie, Clarke, Michael F. and Bennett, Andrew F. 2012, Effects of time since fire on birds : how informative are generalized fire response curves for conservation management?, Ecological applications, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 685-696.

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Title Effects of time since fire on birds : how informative are generalized fire response curves for conservation management?
Author(s) Watson, Simon J.
Taylor, Rick S.
Nimmo, Dale G.
Kelly, Luke T.
Haslem, Angie
Clarke, Michael F.
Bennett, Andrew F.
Journal name Ecological applications
Volume number 22
Issue number 2
Start page 685
End page 696
Total pages 12
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Place of publication Washington, D. C.
Publication date 2012-03
ISSN 1051-0761
1939-5582
Keyword(s) birds
chronosequence
conservation
disturbance
fire
mallee
semiarid shrubland
southeastern Australia
succession
time since fire
Summary Fire is both a widespread natural disturbance that affects the distribution of species and a tool that can be used to manage habitats for species. Knowledge of temporal changes in the occurrence of species after fire is essential for conservation management in fire-prone environments. Two key issues are: whether postfire responses of species are idiosyncratic or if multiple species show a limited number of similar responses; and whether such responses to time since fire can predict the occurrence of species across broad spatial scales. We examined the response of bird species to time since fire in semiarid shrubland in southeastern Australia using data from surveys at 499 sites representing a 100-year chronosequence. We used nonlinear regression to model the probability of occurrence of 30 species with time since fire in two vegetation types, and compared species' responses with generalized response shapes from the literature. The occurrence of 16 species was significantly influenced by time since fire: they displayed six main responses consistent with generalized response shapes. Of these 16 species, 15 occurred more frequently in mid- or later-successional vegetation (>20 years since fire), and only one species occurred more often in early succession (<5 years since fire). The models had reasonable predictive ability for eight species, some predictive ability for seven species, and were little better than random for one species. Bird species displayed a limited range of responses to time since fire; thus a small set of fire ages should allow the provision of habitat for most species. Postfire successional changes extend for decades and management of the age class distribution of vegetation will need to reflect this timescale. Response curves revealed important seral stages for species and highlighted the importance of mid- to late-successional vegetation (>20 years). Although time since fire clearly influences the distribution of numerous bird species, predictive models of the spatial distribution of species in fire-prone landscapes need to incorporate other factors in addition to time since fire.
Language eng
Field of Research 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio Economic Objective 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2012, Ecological Society of America
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30046985

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.