Response of a shrubland mammal and reptile community to a history of landscape-scale wildfire

Doherty, Tim S., Davis, Robert A., van Etten, Eddie J. B., Collier, Neil and Krawiec, Josef 2015, Response of a shrubland mammal and reptile community to a history of landscape-scale wildfire, International journal of wildland fire, vol. 24, no. 4, pp. 534-543, doi: 10.1071/WF14115.

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Title Response of a shrubland mammal and reptile community to a history of landscape-scale wildfire
Author(s) Doherty, Tim S.ORCID iD for Doherty, Tim S.
Davis, Robert A.
van Etten, Eddie J. B.
Collier, Neil
Krawiec, Josef
Journal name International journal of wildland fire
Volume number 24
Issue number 4
Start page 534
End page 543
Total pages 10
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Clayton, Vic.
Publication date 2015-02-02
ISSN 1049-8001
Keyword(s) Australia
fire management
prescribed fire
Summary Fire plays a strong role in structuring fauna communities and the habitat available to them in fire-prone regions. Human-mediated increases in fire frequency and intensity threaten many animal species and understanding how these species respond to fire history and its associated effect on vegetation is essential to effective biodiversity management. We used a shrubland mammal and reptile community in semiarid south-western Australia as a model to investigate interactions between fire history, habitat structure and fauna habitat use. Of the 15 species analysed, five were most abundant in recently burnt habitat (8–13 years since last fire), four were most abundant in long unburnt areas (25–50 years) and six showed no response to fire history. Fauna responses to fire history were divergent both within and across taxonomic groups. Fire management that homogenises large areas of habitat through either fire exclusion or frequent burning may threaten species due to these diverse requirements, so careful management of fire may be needed to maximise habitat suitability across the landscape. When establishing fire management plans, we recommend that land managers exercise caution in adopting species-specific information from different locations and broad vegetation types. Information on animal responses to fire is best gained through experimental and adaptive management approaches at the local level.
Language eng
DOI 10.1071/WF14115
Field of Research 060801 Animal Behaviour
060207 Population Ecology
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Socio Economic Objective 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2015, IAWF
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