Lizard responses to forest fire and timber harvesting: complementary insights from species and community approaches

Hu, Yang, Kelly, Luke T., Gillespie, Graeme R. and Jessop, Tim S. 2016, Lizard responses to forest fire and timber harvesting: complementary insights from species and community approaches, Forest ecology and management, vol. 379, pp. 206-215, doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.07.040.

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Title Lizard responses to forest fire and timber harvesting: complementary insights from species and community approaches
Author(s) Hu, Yang
Kelly, Luke T.
Gillespie, Graeme R.
Jessop, Tim S.ORCID iD for Jessop, Tim S.
Journal name Forest ecology and management
Volume number 379
Start page 206
End page 215
Total pages 10
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2016-11-01
ISSN 0378-1127
Keyword(s) reptile assemblage
functional diversity
Summary Understanding the relationship between community composition and ecosystem function is essential for managing forests with complex disturbance regimes. Studies of animal responses to fire and timber harvesting in forest ecosystems typically focus on a single level of community diversity. Measures of species abundance and diversity at the community level, along with measures of functional diversity that incorporate information on species traits, provide opportunities for complementary insights into biodiversity responses to disturbances. We quantified community and functional responses of a temperate forest lizard community to fire and rotational logging using metrics including species-specific abundance, community abundance, species richness and evenness, as well as trait-based measures of functional diversity. We used non-linear regression models to examine the relationships between reptile data and time since fire and timber harvesting, using sites arrayed along a 30-years post-disturbance chronosequence. We modelled responses separately in two major vegetation types: coastal Banksia woodland and lowland eucalypt forests. Species and community measures offered different insights into the role of fire and logging. Species responses to disturbance differed between disturbance type and vegetation type. Four species exhibited significant population responses to either fire or timber harvesting, while the rest were unaffected by either disturbance. At the community level, species richness and community abundance increased significantly with time since fire in woodland vegetation. In forest vegetation, community abundance decreased with time since fire. Surprisingly, community evenness and functional diversity did not show marked responses to fire or timber harvesting. This is likely a result of trait homogeneity and the asynchrony in species responses to disturbance. We advocate using multiple measures of community composition - incorporating species-specific information, community metrics and functional traits - to ensure a more holistic understanding of disturbance ecology in forest landscapes.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.foreco.2016.07.040
Field of Research 050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
060303 Biological Adaptation
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 ©2016, Elsevier
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