Skip to Main Content
Variation in ant populations with elevation, tree cover, and fire in a pinyon-juniper-dominated watershedAuthor(s): Eugenie M. MontBlanc; Jeanne C. Chambers; Peter E. Brussard
Source: Western North American Naturalist. 67(4): 469-491.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (1.64 MB)
DescriptionClimate change and fire suppression have facilitated expansion of pinyon-juniper woodlands into sagebrush- steppe ecosystems of the Great Basin, USA, resulting in a loss of biological diversity. To assess the effects of using prescribed fire in restoration efforts, ant abundance, species richness, and composition were examined pre- and post-burn along the elevation and tree cover gradients encompassed by a pinyon-juniper woodland in a central Nevada watershed. Ants were sampled using pitfall traps in 6 sites for the elevation study and in 2 sites for the tree cover study, representing paired burn and control sites in a randomized block design. Vegetation and ground cover variables were also sampled to determine how variation in ant populations was correlated with differences in vegetation and ground cover. Ant species richness remained unchanged for all treatments. Tree cover had no significant effect on ant populations. Significantly more ants were trapped after the burn treatment on burn plots. Variation in ant populations was not directly correlated with any of the vegetation or ground cover variables. According to ANOVA and multivariate analyses, elevation had the greatest effect on changes in ant communities, likely due to increased moisture availability. Our results suggest that management for conservation of sagebrush-steppe ecosystems in this and similar watersheds should include a range of elevations to ensure maximum ant species diversity.
- You may send email to email@example.com 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.
CitationMontBlanc, Eugenie M.; Chambers, Jeanne C.; Brussard, Peter E. 2007. Variation in ant populations with elevation, tree cover, and fire in a pinyon-juniper-dominated watershed. Western North American Naturalist. 67(4): 469-491.
Keywordsants, prescribed fire, elevation gradients, tree cover, Great Basin, pinyon-juniper woodland, sagebrush steppe, ecosystem management, restoration
- Pinyon/juniper woodlands [Chapter 4]
- Big sagebrush in pinyon-juniper woodlands: Using forest inventory and analysis data as a management tool for quantifying and monitoring mule deer habitat
- Ecosystem consequences of regional pinyon mortality
XML: View XML