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Christopher A. Pocknee, Sarah Legge, Jane McDonald, Diana O. Fisher
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Cataloging Information

Fire Ecology
Fire Effects
Prescribed Fire-use treatments

NRFSN number: 25910
FRAMES RCS number: 67399
Record updated:

Fire has shaped ecological communities worldwide for millennia but impacts of fire on individual species are often poorly understood. We performed a meta-analysis to predict which traits, habitat or study variables, and fire characteristics influence how mammal species respond to fire. We modelled effect sizes of measures of population abundance or occupancy as a function of various combinations of these traits and variables using phylogenetic least squares regression. Only nine of 115 modelled species (7.83%) returned statistically significant effect sizes, suggesting most mammals are resilient to fire. The top-ranked model predicted a negative impact of fire on species with lower reproductive rates, regardless of fire type, a positive impact of burrowing in prescribed fires but not wildfires, and a positive impact of average fire return interval for wildfires but not prescribed fires. If a species’ International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List assessment includes fire as a known or possible threat, the species is predicted to respond negatively to wildfire relative to prescribed fire. These findings provide confidence around experts’ abilities to predict whether fire is a threat to a mammal species, and the ability of managers to meet the needs of fire-threatened species through prescribed fire. We provide a basis to predict mammal responses to fire, to guide conservation actions or interventions in species or communities where empirical data are lacking.


Pocknee, Christopher A.; Legge, Sarah M.; McDonald, Jane; Fisher, Diana O. 2023. Modeling mammal response to fire based on species' traits. Conservation Biology 37(4):e14062.

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