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Wildland Fire in Ecosystems

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United StatesDepartmentof AgricultureForest ServiceRocky MountainResearch StationGeneral TechnicalReport RMRS-GTR-42-volume 1January 2000Wildland Fire inEcosystemsEffects of Fire on FaunaAbstract _____________________________________Smith, Jane Kapler, ed. 2000. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on fauna. Gen. Tech. Rep.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 1. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky MountainResearch Station. 83 p.Fires affect animals mainly through effects on their habitat. Fires often cause short-term increases inwildlife foods that contribute to increases in populations of some animals. These increases aremoderated by the animals’ ability to thrive in the altered, often simplified, structure of the postfireenvironment. The extent of fire effects on animal communities generally depends on the extent of changein habitat structure and species composition caused by fire. Stand-replacement fires usually causegreater changes in the faunal communities of forests than in those of grasslands. Within forests, stand-replacement fires usually alter the animal community more dramatically than understory fires. Animalspecies are adapted to survive the pattern of fire frequency, season, size, severity, and uniformity thatcharacterized their habitat in presettlement times. When fire frequency increases or decreasessubstantially or fire severity changes from presettlement patterns, habitat for many animal speciesdeclines.Keywords: fire effects, fire management, fire regime, habitat, succession, wildlifeThe volumes in “The Rainbow Series” will be published during the year 2000. To order, check the box or boxes below, fill in theaddress form, and send to the mailing address listed below. Or send your order and your address in mailing label form to one of theother listed media. Your order(s) will be filled over the months of 2000 as the volumes are published.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 1. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on fauna.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on flora.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 3. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on cultural resources and archeology.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 4. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on soil and water.RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 5. Wildland fire in ecosystems: effects of fire on air.Send to: ________________________________________________________________________________Name________________________________________________________________________________AddressFort Collins Service CenterTelephone (970) 498-1392FAX (970) 498-1396E-mail rschneider/[email protected] site http://www.fs.fed.us/rmMailing Address Publications DistributionRocky Mountain Research Station240 W. Prospect RoadFort Collins, CO 80526-2098EditorJane Kapler Smith, Rocky Mountain Research Station, U.S. Depart-ment of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula, MT 59807.AuthorsL. Jack Lyon, Research Biologist (Emeritus) and Project Leader for theNorthern Rockies Forest Wildlife Habitat Research Work Unit, Inter-mountain (now Rocky Mountain) Research Station, U.S. Departmentof Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula, MT 59807.Mark H. Huff, Ecologist, Pacific Northwest Research Station, U.S.Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Portland, OR 97208.Robert G. Hooper, Research Wildlife Biologist, Southern ResearchStation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Charleston,SC 29414.Edmund S. Telfer, Scientist (Emeritus), Canadian Wildlife Service,Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6B 2X3.David Scott Schreiner, Silvicultural Forester (retired), Los PadresNational Forest, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Goleta,CA 93117.Jane Kapler Smith, Ecologist, Fire Effects Research Work Unit, RockyMountain Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, ForestService, Missoula, MT 59807.Cover photo—Male black-backed woodpecker on fire-killed lodgepole pine. Photo by Milo Burcham.Wildland Fire in EcosystemsEffects of Fire on FaunaPreface _____________________________________In 1978, a national workshop on fire effects in Denver, Colorado, provided the impetusfor the “Effects of Wildland Fire on Ecosystems” series. Recognizing that knowledge offire was needed for land management planning, state-of-the-knowledge reviews wereproduced that became known as the “Rainbow Series.” The series consisted of sixpublications, each with a different colored cover, describing the effects of fire on soil,water, air, flora, fauna, and fuels.The Rainbow Series proved popular in providing fire effects information for professionals,students, and others. Printed supplies eventually ran out, but knowledge of fire effectscontinued to grow. To meet the continuing demand for summaries of fire effects knowledge,the interagency National Wildfire Coordinating Group asked Forest Service research leadersto update and revise the series. To fulfill this request, a meeting for organizing the revision washeld January 4-6, 1993, in Scottsdale, Arizona. The series name was then changed to “TheRainbow Series.” The five-volume series covers air, soil and water, fauna, flora and fuels, andcultural resources.The Rainbow Series emphasizes principles and processes rather than serving as asummary of all that is known. The five volumes, taken together, provide a wealth of informationand examples to advance understanding of basic concepts regarding fire effects in the UnitedStates and Canada. As conceptual background, they provide technical support to fire andresource managers for carrying out interdisciplinary planning, which is essential to managingwildlands in an ecosystem context. Planners and managers will find the series helpful in manyaspects of ecosystem-based management, but they will also need to seek out and synthesizemore detailed information to resolve specific management questions.–– The AuthorsJanuary 2000Acknowledgments____________________________The Rainbow Series was completed under the sponsorship of the Joint Fire SciencesProgram, a cooperative fire science effort of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Serviceand the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Land Management,Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. We thank Marcia Patton-Mallory andLouise Kingsbury for persistence and support.The authors are grateful for reviews of the manuscript from James K. Brown, Luc C.Duchesne, R. Todd Engstrom, Bill Leenhouts, Kevin C. Ryan, and Neil Sugihara; thereviews were insightful and helpful.


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