Fire Effects on Wildlife 18 September 2006 Direct

Fire Effects on Wildlife 18 September 2006 Direct

Fire Effects on Wildlife 18 September 2006 Direct Effects Few studies, marked re-capture approach ideal Body size and mobility, i.e. burrowing, influence direct mortality Life cycle stages are impacted differently

Depends on fire regime Frequency, intensity, extent, and season Extent-small area, greater ability to repopulate Must look at populations rather than the individual Indirect Effects Fire severity and resulting successional patterns dictate wildlife habitats and the

effect on wildlife Importance of fire regime (+/-) Consumer response is species dependent, must consider mechanisms at work TTYP: What are the indirect effects of fire on wildlife habitat? Mechanisms of post-fire population

change Availability of food resources and changes in cover regulate population response Sorting out these mechanisms is a research challenge Understanding the Consumer Response to Food Resources Fire alters production, species availability, and food quality

Migration and immigration Short term effects Arizona grassland example Green vegetation declines while seed availability increase Differential small mammal response Understanding the Consumer Response to Food Resources Alternatively, shift in food sources

Ex. Australian eucalypt forest Bettongs exploit fire adapted fungus Ex. Primates in Borneo shifting food sources Flowers and fruits unavailable foliar/herbaceous vegetation and caterpillars/larvae of wood boring insects Plant Succession and Animal Response

Ex. Browsers in N.A. boreal forest Caribou eat lichen, slow growth, easily burned Caribou in late successional Moose eat woody resprouts (birch, aspen) Moose in early successional Consumer Response and Food Quality

Pulse of higher quality new growth Increase in protein (nitrogen content) in new growth New tender shoots with greater digestibility Increase in population growth rates? Ex. Domestic grazers Changes in Cover Burned vegetation results in drastic change in both physical and thermal cover

Ex. Cryptic insects, evolutionary response Physical protection from predation Structure provides protective habitat Structure effects visibility Clearing of structure provides visibility Ex. Red-cockaded

woodpecker and loblolly pine understory maintenance Balancing Protective Cover and Food Availability Tallgrass prairie example Bird response Increase in seed/insect availability Decrease in cover, nesting habitat, and predator

protection Small mammal response Some small rodents, i.e. prairie vole, are small navigate litter layer and find seed Other larger rodents, prefer burned area with easier seed access Structural Diversity Interspersion of food resources and

cover Positive or negative effects depending on the severity and extent and the wildlife considered Reduced habitat heterogeneity by large extent, severe fires Example: Structural Diversity Habitat diversity and complexity,

each supports a specific faunal community Ex. Snags important for birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates Structural Diversity and Patchiness

Refugia for migration and nucleus for recovery Mature cover and adjacent high quality growth Mosaics of food resources and cover create structural diversity

Ecotones - boundaries Landscape Diversity Example: Mississippi Alluvial Valley Landscape complexity through burning Rice and waterfowl management Mississippi rice fields, interspersion of open water and emergent vegetation (Kross 2006)

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