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Fire severity and fire-induced landscape heterogeneity affect arboreal mammals in fire-prone forests

Chia, Evelyn K., Bassett, Michelle, Nimmo, Dale G., Leonard, Steve W. J., Ritchie, Euan, Clarke, Michael F. and Bennett, Andrew F. 2015, Fire severity and fire-induced landscape heterogeneity affect arboreal mammals in fire-prone forests, Ecosphere, vol. 6, no. 10, Article Number : 190, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.1890/ES15-00327.1.

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Title Fire severity and fire-induced landscape heterogeneity affect arboreal mammals in fire-prone forests
Author(s) Chia, Evelyn K.
Bassett, Michelle
Nimmo, Dale G.
Leonard, Steve W. J.
Ritchie, EuanORCID iD for Ritchie, Euan orcid.org/0000-0003-4410-8868
Clarke, Michael F.
Bennett, Andrew F.
Journal name Ecosphere
Volume number 6
Issue number 10
Season Article Number : 190
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Place of publication Washington, D.C.
Publication date 2015-10
ISSN 2150-8925
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Ecology
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
biodiversity
climate
dispersal
marsupial
metapopulation
refuge
wildfire
SOUTH-EASTERN AUSTRALIA
YELLOWSTONE-NATIONAL-PARK
CLIMATE-CHANGE
PSEUDOCHEIRUS-PEREGRINUS
BIRD COMMUNITIES
BRUSHTAIL POSSUM
COASTAL FORESTS
LARGE WILDFIRE
LONG-TERM
REFUGES
Summary In fire-prone regions, wildfire influences spatial and temporal patterns of landscape heterogeneity. The likely impacts of climate change on the frequency and intensity of wildfire highlights the importance of understanding how fire-induced heterogeneity may affect different components of the biota. Here, we examine the influence of wildfire, as an agent of landscape heterogeneity, on the distribution of arboreal mammals in fire-prone forests in south-eastern Australia. First, we used a stratified design to examine the role of topography, and the relative influence of fire severity and fire history, on the occurrence of arboreal mammals 2-3 years after wildfire. Second, we investigated the influence of landscape context on the occurrence of arboreal mammals at severely burnt sites. Forested gullies supported a higher abundance of arboreal mammals than slopes. Fire severity was the strongest influence, with abundance lower at severely burnt than unburnt sites. The occurrence of mammals at severely burned sites was influenced by landscape context: abundance increased with increasing amount of unburnt and understorey-only burnt forest within a 1 km radius. These results support the hypothesis that unburnt forest and moist gullies can serve as refuges for fauna in the post-fire environment and assist recolonization of severely burned forest. They highlight the importance of spatial heterogeneity created by wildfire and the need to incorporate spatial aspects of fire regimes (e.g., creation and protection of refuges) for fire management in fire-prone landscapes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1890/ES15-00327.1
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060207 Population Ecology
0501 Ecological Applications
0602 Ecology
0608 Zoology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30080251

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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.