Journal article

Post-fire development of faunal habitat depends on plant regeneration traits

Frederick W Rainsford, Luke T Kelly, Steve WJ Leonard, Andrew F Bennett

AUSTRAL ECOLOGY | WILEY | Published : 2020


The concept that vegetation structure (and faunal habitat) develops predictably with time since fire has been central to understanding the relationship between fire and fauna. However, because plants regenerate after fire in different ways (e.g. resprouting from above‐ground stems vs. underground lignotubers), use of simple categories based on time since fire might not adequately represent post‐fire habitat development in all ecosystems. We tested the hypothesis that the post‐fire development of faunal habitat structure differs between ecosystems, depending on fire regeneration traits of the dominant canopy trees. We measured 12 habitat components at sites in foothill forests (n = 38), heath..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by Australian Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge funding and support for this project from the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment; Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria); and La Trobe University Department of Environment, Ecology and Evolution. We thank the following people who contributed to data collection and collation in the mallee: Sarah Avitabile, Lauren Brown, Kate Callister, Mike Clarke, Angie Haslem, Greg Holland, Sally Kenny, Dale Nimmo, Lisa Spence-Bailey, Rick Taylor and Simon Watson. All authors contributed critically to the drafts and gave final approval for publication. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare. Field work was conducted under Scientific Permit no. 100008333 (DELWP, Vic). We thank two anonymous reviewers for constructive feedback that improved the final version. This research was funded through an Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP150100765) 'Spatially explicit solutions for managing fire and biodiversity' awarded to CIs Kelly, Bennett, Clarke, Friend and McCarthy'.