A subalpine rangeland bird community before and after fire: prescribed burning in the Eastern Pyrenees

High mountain rangelands host important populations of threatened bird species, but can be affected by extensive changes in land use. I studied the breeding bird community of two shrubland plots at 1,850–2,100 m a.s.l. in the Pyrenees. Breeding territories were mapped for four years, before and after the prescribed burning, the aim of which was to increase the grazing value of the study area. The most abundant species (reaching ≥3 breeding pairs/10 ha in at least one plot and one year) were Dunnock Prunella modularis, Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata, Stonechat Saxicola torquatus, Rock Bunting Emberiza cia and Ortolan Bunting E. hortulana. The open-shrubland plot contained a similar number of breeding species (10 vs.9), but a lower overall density (23 vs. 28 breeding pairs/10 ha) than the dense-shrubland plot. Most breeding species alsooccurred in winter. After fire, the number of bird species, overall density and conservation value (an index that takes into account all species’ densities and their categories of conservation concern in Europe) decreased, but tended to recover afterwards. These results may help understand the composition and dynamics of bird assemblages in managed mountain areas ​
​Tots els drets reservats