Journal article

Ground-dwelling mammal diversity responds positively to productivity and habitat heterogeneity in a fire-prone region

Matthew Swan, Fiona Christie, Erin Steel, Holly Sitters, Alan York, Julian Di Stefano

ECOSPHERE | WILEY | Published : 2020


Environmental heterogeneity has a consistent, positive effect on species diversity globally, principally due to increased niche space in heterogeneous environments. In flammable ecosystems, fire‐mediated heterogeneity (pyrodiversity) is expected to increase species diversity, and the application of diverse fire regimes is a common management goal. We used landscape‐scale sampling units and linear mixed models to determine the response of ground‐dwelling mammal alpha, beta, and gamma diversity to spatial habitat heterogeneity (functional heterogeneity) and three indirect measures of spatial heterogeneity, two pyrodiversity indices based on fire history maps, and another based on mapped vegeta..

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Funding Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, and the Holsworth Wildlife Research Endowment. We thank Amanda Ashton, Michelle Ibbett, Leigh Morison, and Evan Watkins for assistance with mammal trapping, Helen Doherty for help in processing photographs, and numerous other volunteers for help with various parts of the project. Fieldwork was conducted under the National Parks Act (Research Permit Number 10005348) and Forests Act (Scientific Permit Number 10005514), and faunal surveys were approved by the University of Melbourne School of Land and Environment Ethics Committee (Register No. 1011632.5).