Optimal fire histories for biodiversity conservation

Kelly,LT, Bennett,AF, Clarke,MF and Mccarthy,MA 2014, Optimal fire histories for biodiversity conservation, Conservation Biology, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 473-481, doi: 10.1111/cobi.12384.

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Title Optimal fire histories for biodiversity conservation
Author(s) Kelly,LT
Bennett,AF
Clarke,MF
Mccarthy,MA
Journal name Conservation Biology
Volume number 29
Issue number 2
Start page 473
End page 481
Total pages 9
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ
Publication date 2014-08
ISSN 0888-8892
1523-1739
Keyword(s) Biodiversity index
Birds
Fire mosaic
Geometric mean
Patch-mosaic burning
Pyrodiversity
Reptiles
Small mammals
Summary Fire is used as a management tool for biodiversity conservation worldwide. A common objective is to avoid population extinctions due to inappropriate fire regimes. However, in many ecosystems, it is unclear what mix of fire histories will achieve this goal. We determined the optimal fire history of a given area for biological conservation with a method that links tools from 3 fields of research: species distribution modeling, composite indices of biodiversity, and decision science. We based our case study on extensive field surveys of birds, reptiles, and mammals in fire-prone semi-arid Australia. First, we developed statistical models of species' responses to fire history. Second, we determined the optimal allocation of successional states in a given area, based on the geometric mean of species relative abundance. Finally, we showed how conservation targets based on this index can be incorporated into a decision-making framework for fire management. Pyrodiversity per se did not necessarily promote vertebrate biodiversity. Maximizing pyrodiversity by having an even allocation of successional states did not maximize the geometric mean abundance of bird species. Older vegetation was disproportionately important for the conservation of birds, reptiles, and small mammals. Because our method defines fire management objectives based on the habitat requirements of multiple species in the community, it could be used widely to maximize biodiversity in fire-prone ecosystems. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/cobi.12384
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30071085

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