Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Natasha B. Kotliar; Patricia L. Kennedy; Kimberly Ferree
    Date: 2007
    Source: Ecological Applications. 17(2); 491-507.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (350 B)

    Description

    The effects of burn severity on avian communities are poorly understood, yet this information is crucial to fire management programs. To quantify avian response patterns along a burn severity gradient, we sampled 49 random plots (2001-2002) at the 17351-ha Cerro Grande Fire (2000) in New Mexico, USA. Additionally, pre-fire avian surveys (1986- 1988, 1990) created a unique opportunity to quantify avifaunal changes in 13 pre-fire transects (resampled in 2002) and to compare two designs for analyzing the effects of unplanned disturbances: after-only analysis and before-after comparisons. Distance analysis was used to calculate densities. We analyzed after-only densities for 21 species using gradient analysis, which detected a broad range of responses to increasing burn severity: (I) large significant declines, (II) weak, but significant declines, (III) no significant density changes, (IV) peak densities in low- or moderate-severity patches, (V) weak, but significant increases, and (VI) large significant increases. Overall, 71% of the species included in the after-only gradient analysis exhibited either positive or neutral density responses to fire effects across all or portions of the severity gradient (responses III-VI). We used pre/post pairs analysis to quantify density changes for 15 species using before-after comparisons; spatiotemporal variation in densities was large and confounded fire effects for most species. Only four species demonstrated significant effects of burn severity, and their densities were all higher in burned compared to unburned forests. Pre- and post-fire community similarity was high except in high-severity areas. Species richness was similar pre- and post-fire across all burn severities. Thus, ecosystem restoration programs based on the assumption that recent severe fires in Southwestern ponderosa pine forests have overriding negative ecological effects are not supported by our study of post-fire avian communities. This study illustrates the importance of quantifying burn severity and controlling confounding sources of spatiotemporal variation in studies of fire effects. After-only gradient analysis can be an efficient tool for quantifying fire effects. This analysis can also augment historical data sets that have small samples sizes coupled with high non-process variation, which limits the power of before-after comparisons.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to rmrspubrequest@fs.fed.us to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

    Citation

    Kotliar, Natasha B.; Kennedy, Patricia L.; Ferree, Kimberly. 2007. Avifaunal responses to fire in southwestern montane forests along a burn severity gradient. Ecological Applications. 17(2); 491-507.

    Keywords

    after-only, before-after comparisons, bird communities, breeding densities, Cerro Grande, New Mexico, USA, distance sampling, fire effects, gradient analysis, historical data

    Related Search


    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/27696