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Numerical response of small vertebrates to prescribed fire in a California oak woodlandAuthor(s): Justin K. Vreeland; William D. Tietje
Source: In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California's Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 269-279
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: Pacific Southwest Research Station
PDF: View PDF (320 KB)
DescriptionUse of prescribed fire for management of livestock forage and fuel load is increasing in California oak woodlands, but its effects on vertebrate wildlife are unknown. We conducted a light-intensity prescribed fire in mixed blue oak-coast live-oak woodlands in coastal-central California and assessed vegetation change and numerical response of small, non-game vertebrates, to the fire. The prescribed fire significantly reduced four (grass, shrub cover, coarse woody debris, woodrat houses; P<0.05) of the 13 vegetation and habitat components that we measured. We observed no change in relative abundance of small mammals, breeding birds, amphibians, or reptiles in response to the prescribed fire. Light- to moderate-intensity prescribed fire in California oak woodlands is probably beneficial by reducing resource competition from exotic annual grasses, stimulating shrub and tree vigor and, ultimately, overall habitat rejuvenation. A high-intensity prescribed fire is planned for the fall of 2002 to yield a better understanding of the response of terrestrial vertebrates to the range of prescribed fires that are conducted in California oak woodland.
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CitationVreeland, Justin K.; Tietje, William D. 2002. Numerical response of small vertebrates to prescribed fire in a California oak woodland. In: Standiford, Richard B., et al, tech. editor. Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on Oak Woodlands: Oaks in California''s Challenging Landscape. Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-184, Albany, CA: Pacific Southwest Research Station, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture: 269-279
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