In our new paper, we ask:
1 How do growth stage and fire severity influence plant and vertebrate species’ occurrence?
2 What mix of growth stages and fire severities maximises the diversity of these groups?
We surveyed birds, mammals and plants in the tall wet forest of Victoria’s Central Highlands, and found that growth stage predicted the occurrence of many species. Severity of the most recent fire was important over and above growth stage for a small subset of species; however, low-severity fire was a more important driver of species diversity than any other growth stage or severity category.
Growth stage is a good surrogate for developing conservation targets in tall wet forests, but does not capture the full range of species’ fire responses. More complex versions of growth stage optimisation that accommodate multiple fire-regime variables need to be explored to yield ecologically meaningful conservation goals.
Swan, M., Sitters, H., Cawson, J., Duff, T., Wibisono, Y. & York, A. (2018). Fire planning for multispecies conservation: Integrating growth stage and fire severity. Forest Ecology and Management 415-416: 85-97