Effects of Post-Fire Management on a Mediterranean Small Mammal Community

Torre, Ignasi
Ribas, Alexis
Wildfires simplify ecosystems, modifying the ecological niches of the fauna living in the recently burned areas. Small mammals respond rapidly to changes in habitat structure and composition after fire, but the effects of fire can be ameliorated by some management strategies (e.g., salvage logging). Hence, it is necessary to explore whether alternative management strategies may be able to return the ecosystem to its initial state. We studied the small mammal community by live trapping on eight plots under different post-fire treatments in Sant Llorenç del Munt i l'Obac Natural Park (Barcelona province, NE Spain). At the community level, an increase in overall relative abundance and species density was observed in the burned areas. Apodemus sylvaticus, the most abundant mammal in study area, used woody debris piles as a shelter against predators. Mus spretus was more abundant in post-fire sites with large open areas interspersed with woody debris piles. Crocidura russula steadily increased its presence in later successional stages when ground cover became more complex. Our results suggest that combining different management strategies may be appropriate to improve the habitat suitability and biodiversity of small mammals and other key open-land species throughout the burned area ​
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