The impacts of fire on birds in Australia’s tropical savannas

To: "" <>
Subject: The impacts of fire on birds in Australia’s tropical savannas
From: colin trainor <>
Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:23:06 +0930
Recent review paper may be of interest:

J. C. Z. 


North Australian Biodiversity Hub, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, NT 
0909, Australia. 
Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, PMB 925 Derby, 
WA 6728, Australia. 
Research School of Biology, College of Medicine, Biology and 
Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, 
Present address: PO Box 148, Christmas Island, 6798, Australia. 
Corresponding author. Email: 

The ecology of Australia’s tropical savannas is shaped by the 
near-pervasive influence of fire. Constituting ~20% of Australia’s land 
area, tropical savannas contribute >75% of the area burnt in 
Australia each year. Across most of Australia’s tropical savannas, 
components of biodiversity are declining, including many species of 
birds. This review seeks to assess whether that decline is linked to 
current fire regimes. However, relevant studies are few, short-term and 
opportunistic, and indicate rather than demonstrate the effects of fire.
 There is no set of agreed paradigms for contextualising the 
relationship between birds and fire regimes in this region or for any 
management consequences. We conclude that the current fire regime is 
suboptimal for many species of birds, particularly for granivores, 
frugivores, hollow-dependent species and those that nest on or near the 
ground. For conservation reserves, we recommend that fire management 
protocols include the explicit targets that: (1) at least 25% of the 
savanna landscape is at least 3 years unburnt; (2) at least 5% is at 
least 10 years unburnt; (3) fire-sensitive non-savanna vegetation types 
are increasing or stable and (4) populations of selected hollow-nesting,
 ground-nesting, frugivorous and granivorous birds are increasing or 
stable. We also identify key knowledge gaps that currently inhibit 
conservation management.


Additional keywords:
conservation, conservation management, frugivore, granivore, 
ground-nesting, hollow-nesting, management, pastoralism, rainforest, 
threatened species.


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