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Short-term benefits of prescribed fire to bird communities of dry forests



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Rocky Mountain Research Station


Fire Ecology. 18: 4.


Low-severity prescribed fire is an important tool to manage fire-maintained forests across North America. In dry conifer forests of the western USA, prescribed fire is often used to reduce fuel loads in forests characterized historically by mixed- and low-severity fire regimes. Understanding the ecological effects of prescribed fire treatments is important for predicting the impacts of these management actions on wildlife communities. Few studies, however, have estimated small landbird responses to forest treatments at spatial scales relevant to their ecology or have examined potential differences in treatment effects applied within historically mixed- vs. low-severity fire regimes. Therefore, we evaluated prescribed fire treatment effects and relationships with burn severity for avian communities in dry conifer forests dominated by ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) located on seven national forests in the interior western USA. We surveyed birds for 1-4 years and 1-3 years before and after prescribed fire treatments at mixed and low-severity fire regime locations, respectively, following a before-after, control-impact study design - 8 paired control-treatment units in mixed-severity locations (16 total study units with 320 survey points) and 4 paired control-treatment units in low-severity locations (10 total study units with 278 survey points). Using a Bayesian hierarchical multi-species occupancy model, we investigated responses to prescribed fire treatments by a community of 95 bird species.


Saab, Victoria A.; R. Latif, Quresh; Block, William M.; Dudley, Jonathan G. 2022. Short-term benefits of prescribed fire to bird communities of dry forests. Fire Ecology. 18: 4.


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