Limits...
Canada lynx use of burned areas: Conservation implications of changing fire regimes

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A fundamental problem in ecology is forecasting how species will react to major disturbances. As the climate warms, large, frequent, and severe fires are restructuring forested landscapes at large spatial scales, with unknown impacts on imperilled predators. We use the United States federally Threatened Canada lynx as a case study to examine how predators navigate recent large burns, with particular focus on habitat features and the spatial configuration (e.g., distance to edge) that enabled lynx use of these transformed landscapes. We coupled GPS location data of lynx in Washington in an area with several recent large fires and a number of GIS layers of habitat data to develop models of lynx habitat selection in recent burns. Random Forest habitat models showed lynx‐selected islands of forest skipped by large fires, residual vegetation, and areas where some trees survived to use newly burned areas. Lynx used burned areas as early as 1 year postfire, which is much earlier than the 2–4 decades postfire previously thought for this predator. These findings are encouraging for predator persistence in the face of fires, but increasingly severe fires or management that reduces postfire residual trees or slow regeneration will likely jeopardize lynx and other predators. Fire management should change to ensure heterogeneity is retained within the footprint of large fires to enable viable predator populations as fire regimes worsen with climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

A postfire mosaic within the Tripod Burn in northcentral Washington, USA. The fire burned in 2006; this picture was taken in August 2016 (the radio‐collared lynx were on air from 2007 to 2013). Within the burn scar, there are wet meadows, dry meadows, fire skips where trees were not burned, dead trees, and areas with scattered to dense patches of young trees regrowing after the fire. Lynx are more likely to use areas with denser cover, whether the cover is derived from residual unburned material or areas with dense regeneration of trees or shrubs. Photograph copyright Karen E. Hodges
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383493&req=5

ece32824-fig-0001: A postfire mosaic within the Tripod Burn in northcentral Washington, USA. The fire burned in 2006; this picture was taken in August 2016 (the radio‐collared lynx were on air from 2007 to 2013). Within the burn scar, there are wet meadows, dry meadows, fire skips where trees were not burned, dead trees, and areas with scattered to dense patches of young trees regrowing after the fire. Lynx are more likely to use areas with denser cover, whether the cover is derived from residual unburned material or areas with dense regeneration of trees or shrubs. Photograph copyright Karen E. Hodges

Mentions: Boreal fires create heterogeneity both at the landscape level and within a single burn perimeter as fire behavior varies greatly according to weather, microclimate, fuels, and topography (Cansler & McKenzie, 2014; Perera & Buse, 2014) (Figure 1). As a result, some areas burn at a high intensity, consuming forest canopies and leaving only burnt snags behind, while other areas burn at a lower intensity such that the understory burns but many trees survive (Brassard & Chen, 2006; Perera & Buse, 2014). Fire skips, areas within a burn perimeter that do not burn at all, leave the original forest structure and species composition intact (Perera & Buse, 2014). Consequently, the composition of the residual vegetation and structural features such as live trees, snags, and downed logs fluctuates across a burn.


Canada lynx use of burned areas: Conservation implications of changing fire regimes
A postfire mosaic within the Tripod Burn in northcentral Washington, USA. The fire burned in 2006; this picture was taken in August 2016 (the radio‐collared lynx were on air from 2007 to 2013). Within the burn scar, there are wet meadows, dry meadows, fire skips where trees were not burned, dead trees, and areas with scattered to dense patches of young trees regrowing after the fire. Lynx are more likely to use areas with denser cover, whether the cover is derived from residual unburned material or areas with dense regeneration of trees or shrubs. Photograph copyright Karen E. Hodges
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383493&req=5

ece32824-fig-0001: A postfire mosaic within the Tripod Burn in northcentral Washington, USA. The fire burned in 2006; this picture was taken in August 2016 (the radio‐collared lynx were on air from 2007 to 2013). Within the burn scar, there are wet meadows, dry meadows, fire skips where trees were not burned, dead trees, and areas with scattered to dense patches of young trees regrowing after the fire. Lynx are more likely to use areas with denser cover, whether the cover is derived from residual unburned material or areas with dense regeneration of trees or shrubs. Photograph copyright Karen E. Hodges
Mentions: Boreal fires create heterogeneity both at the landscape level and within a single burn perimeter as fire behavior varies greatly according to weather, microclimate, fuels, and topography (Cansler & McKenzie, 2014; Perera & Buse, 2014) (Figure 1). As a result, some areas burn at a high intensity, consuming forest canopies and leaving only burnt snags behind, while other areas burn at a lower intensity such that the understory burns but many trees survive (Brassard & Chen, 2006; Perera & Buse, 2014). Fire skips, areas within a burn perimeter that do not burn at all, leave the original forest structure and species composition intact (Perera & Buse, 2014). Consequently, the composition of the residual vegetation and structural features such as live trees, snags, and downed logs fluctuates across a burn.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

A fundamental problem in ecology is forecasting how species will react to major disturbances. As the climate warms, large, frequent, and severe fires are restructuring forested landscapes at large spatial scales, with unknown impacts on imperilled predators. We use the United States federally Threatened Canada lynx as a case study to examine how predators navigate recent large burns, with particular focus on habitat features and the spatial configuration (e.g., distance to edge) that enabled lynx use of these transformed landscapes. We coupled GPS location data of lynx in Washington in an area with several recent large fires and a number of GIS layers of habitat data to develop models of lynx habitat selection in recent burns. Random Forest habitat models showed lynx‐selected islands of forest skipped by large fires, residual vegetation, and areas where some trees survived to use newly burned areas. Lynx used burned areas as early as 1 year postfire, which is much earlier than the 2–4 decades postfire previously thought for this predator. These findings are encouraging for predator persistence in the face of fires, but increasingly severe fires or management that reduces postfire residual trees or slow regeneration will likely jeopardize lynx and other predators. Fire management should change to ensure heterogeneity is retained within the footprint of large fires to enable viable predator populations as fire regimes worsen with climate change.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus