Document Detail

Quantifying the multi-scale response of avifauna to prescribed fire experiments in the southwest United States.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19425425     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Landscape-scale disturbance events, including ecological restoration and fuel reduction activities, can modify habitat and affect relationships between species and their environment. To reduce the risk of uncharacteristic stand-replacing fires in the southwestern United States, land managers are implementing restoration and fuels treatments (e.g., mechanical thinning, prescribed fire) in progressively larger stands of dry, lower elevation ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest. We used a Before-After/Control-Impact experimental design to quantify the multi-scale response of avifauna to large (approximately 250-400 ha) prescribed fire treatments on four sites in Arizona and New Mexico dominated by ponderosa pine. Using distance sampling and an information-theoretic approach, we estimated changes in density for 14 bird species detected before (May-June 2002-2003) and after (May-June 2004-2005) prescribed fire treatments. We observed few site-level differences in pre- and posttreatment density, and no species responded strongly to treatment on all four sites. Point-level spatial models of individual species response to treatment, habitat variables, and fire severity revealed ecological relationships that were more easily interpreted. At this scale, pretreatment forest structure and patch characteristics were important predictors of posttreatment differences in bird species density. Five species (Pygmy Nuthatch [Sitta pygmaea], Western Bluebird [Sialia mexicana], Steller's Jay [Cyanocitta stelleri], American Robin [Turdus migratorius], and Hairy Woodpecker [Picoides villosus]) exhibited a strong treatment response, and two of these species (American Robin and Hairy Woodpecker) could be associated with meaningful fire severity response functions. The avifaunal response patterns that we observed were not always consistent with those reported by more common studies of wildland fire events. Our results suggest that, in the short-term, the distribution and abundance of common members of the breeding bird community in Southwestern ponderosa pine forests appear to be tolerant of low- to moderate-intensity prescribed fire treatments at multiple spatial scales and across multiple geographic locations.
Brett G Dickson; Barry R Noon; Curtis H Flather; Stephanie Jentsch; William M Block
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America     Volume:  19     ISSN:  1051-0761     ISO Abbreviation:  Ecol Appl     Publication Date:  2009 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-05-11     Completed Date:  2009-07-01     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9889808     Medline TA:  Ecol Appl     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  608-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Behavior, Animal
Birds / physiology*
Pinus ponderosa / physiology*
Population Density
Population Dynamics
Southwestern United States
Species Specificity
Trees / physiology

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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