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Effect of fire on small mammals: a systematic review


Griffiths, AD and Brook, BW, Effect of fire on small mammals: a systematic review, International Journal of Wildland Fire, 23, (7) pp. 1034-1043. ISSN 1049-8001 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 IAWF

DOI: doi:10.1071/WF14026


Fire is a natural disturbance that exerts an important influence on global ecosystems, affecting vegetation distribution and structure, the carbon cycle and climate. However, human-induced changes to fire regimes may affect at-risk species groups such as small mammals. We examine the effect of fire on small mammals and evaluate the relative sensitivity to fire among different groups using a systematic review methodology that included critiquing the literature with respect to survey design and statistical analysis. Overall, small mammal abundance is slightly higher, and demographic parameters more favourable, in unburnt sites compared to burnt sites. This was more pronounced in species with body size range of 101–1000 g and with habitat requirements that are sensitive to fire (e.g. dense ground cover): in 66.6 and 69.7% of pairwise comparisons, abundance or a demographic parameter were higher in unburnt than burnt sites. This systematic review demonstrates that there remains a continued focus on simple shifts in abundance with regards to effect of fire and small mammals, which limits understanding of mechanisms responsible for change. Body size and habitat preference were most important in explaining variation in small mammal species’ responses to fire.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:disturbance, effect size, extinction, model selection
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Ecological applications
Research Field:Landscape ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:97904
Year Published:2014
Web of Science® Times Cited:31
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2015-01-21
Last Modified:2017-10-31

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