Skip to Main Content
Modeling the effects of environmental disturbance on wildlife communities: Avian responses to prescribed fireAuthor(s): Robin E. Russell; J. Andrew Royle; Victoria A. Saab; John F. Lehmkuhl; William M. Block; John R. Sauer
Source: Ecological Applications. 19(5): 1253-1263.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: Download Publication (374.0 KB)
DescriptionPrescribed fire is a management tool used to reduce fuel loads on public lands in forested areas in the western United States. Identifying the impacts of prescribed fire on bird communities in ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forests is necessary for providing land management agencies with information regarding the effects of fuel reduction on sensitive, threatened, and migratory bird species. Recent developments in occupancy modeling have established a framework for quantifying the impacts of management practices on wildlife community dynamics. We describe a Bayesian hierarchical model of multi-species occupancy accounting for detection probability, and we demonstrate the model's usefulness for identifying effects of habitat disturbances on wildlife communities. Advantages to using the model include the ability to estimate the effects of environmental impacts on rare or elusive species, the intuitive nature of the modeling, the incorporation of detection probability, the estimation of parameter uncertainty, the flexibility of the model to suit a variety of experimental designs, and the composite estimate of the response that applies to the collection of observed species as opposed to merely a small subset of common species. Our modeling of the impacts of prescribed fire on avian communities in a ponderosa pine forest in Washington indicate that prescribed fire treatments result in increased occupancy rates for several barkinsectivore, cavity-nesting species including a management species of interest, Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus). Three aerial insectivore species, and the ground insectivore, American Robin (Turdus migratorius), also responded positively to prescribed fire, whereas three foliage insectivores and two seed specialists, Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana) and the Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus), declined following treatments. Land management agencies interested in determining the effects of habitat manipulations on wildlife communities can use these methods to provide guidance for future management activities.
- 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.
CitationRussell, Robin E.; Royle, J. Andrew; Saab, Victoria A.; Lehmkuhl, John F.; Block, William M.; Sauer, John R. 2009. Modeling the effects of environmental disturbance on wildlife communities: Avian responses to prescribed fire. Ecological Applications. 19(5): 1253-1263.
Keywordscomposite analysis, fuel treatments, hierarchical Bayes, point count survey, ponderosa pine, presence-absence data, species richness, WinBUGS
- Cache-site selection in Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana)
- Quantifying the multi-scale response of avifauna to prescribed fire experiments in the southwest United States
- Round Top Butte Research Natural Area: guidebook supplement 46
XML: View XML