In flammable ecosystems, there is great potential to use fire for animal conservation, however most fire-based conservation strategies do not explicitly consider interacting factors. In this study, we sought to understand the interrelationships between the endangered heath mouse/dayang (Pseudomys shortridgei), fire, resource availability and the introduced fox (Vulpes vulpes). We used structural equation modelling to identify pathways between variables, and mediation analysis to detect indirect effects. We did not detect a direct relationship between heath mice and post-fire age class, but they were indirectly associated with age class via its influence on both shrub cover and fox relative abundance.
Our findings suggest that heath mice will benefit from a fire regime promoting dense shrub regeneration in combination with predator control. Understanding the indirect effects of fire on animals may help to identify complementary management practices that can be applied concurrently to benefit animal conservation.
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Nalliah, R., Sitters, H., Smith, A. & Di Stefano, J. (2021). Untangling the influences of fire, habitat and introduced predators on the endangered heath mouse. Animal Conservation.