Prescribed burning benefits threatened mammals in northern Australia

Ian J. Radford, Leigh-Ann Woolley, Ben Corey, Tom Vigilante, Wunambal Gaambera Aboriginal Corporation, Ed Hatherley, Richard Fairman, Karin Carnes & Antony N. Start 

August 2020, Biodiversity and Conservation 29(7)
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-020-02010-9

Despite substantial investment in prescribed burning for biodiversity conservation there has been surprisingly little demonstration of its efficacy in achieving intended conservation aims for fauna. In the case of northern Australia’s threatened mammal fauna, most studies have reported negative responses to fire. We used satellite-derived fire scar imagery and small mammal survey data to compare fire regimes and threatened mammal abundance before and after implementation of broad-scale prescribed burning in north-western Australia. Specifically, we tested: (1) whether prescribed burning was effective in changing fire regimes; (2) whether all mammal species and functional groups responded to prescribed burning; and (3) what regional fire and environmental variables explained changes in mammal status…

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