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International Journal of Wildland Fire
  Published on behalf of the International Association of Wildland Fire
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 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Impact of fire on small mammals: a systematic review

Tony Griffiths, Barry Brook


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

WF14026  Accepted 18 May 2014
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