Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Effect of fire on birds evaluated

Date:
June 30, 2010
Source:
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology
Summary:
Spanish researchers have assessed the impact of the burning of a scrubland area of broom on the birds of the Catalan Pyrenees. By analyzing a period of 50 years following the fire, the scientists found that the birds that recover most slowly are those that live in the high mountain areas. For many of them, this recovery takes more than one or two decades following the fire.

European mountains have experienced a decline in forestry, agricultural and livestock operations over the past 50 years, due to the exodus of rural populations and socioeconomic changes. These areas have become covered by scrubland. Burning has become a common tool used to regain the landscape of olden times and maintain grazing areas at altitudes of between 1,400 and 2,100 metres above sea level in the Pyrenees.

"Hundreds of hectares of scrubland of broom (Cytisus oromediterraneus) are burned each year, and these are an important habitat for conservation purposes in Europe, and one of the most heavily affected by this practice," says Pere Pons, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Girona (UdG).

The results of the study, published in the latest edition of the journal Animal Conservation, show that various species react differently to fire.

According to the Catalan scientist, the Dartford warbler (Sylvia undata) recovers more slowly at higher altitudes than lower ones. The skylark (Alauda arvensis), the woodlark (Lullula arborea), and the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio), which are all threatened birds in Europe, return to maximum abundance between 10 and 19 years after fire.

However, by 20 years after burning, "the scrub starts to become closed, and the bird community becomes poorer in species and of less conservation interest," says Miguel Clavero, co-author of the study and also a scientist at the UdG and at the Forest Technology Centre of Catalonia (CTFC). The team also observed that the intensity of the fire is only "significant" in the first year after it has taken place.

Clavero said: "We need long-term biodiversity evaluations that will help to improve planning of the intervals between burning and the various methods used for clearing scrubland at different altitudes." For this reason, the researchers propose "scheduling low-intensity fires, because these have less immediate impacts on vegetation and fauna."

Abandonment of rural areas, a threat to biodiversity

Changes in land use and the abandonment of rural areas are leading factors in the global environmental change threatening the biodiversity upon which human beings depend. Mountains with a heterogeneous landscape containing large areas of cropland and grazing have in many European regions become a much more uniform landscape dominated by scrubland and woodland. The method used over the past two or three decades to recover these former landscapes has been officially-prescribed burning.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Pons, M. Clavero. Bird responses to fire severity and time since fire in managed mountain rangelands. Animal Conservation, 2009; 13 (3): 294 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2009.00337.x

Cite This Page:

FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Effect of fire on birds evaluated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100630101018.htm>.
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. (2010, June 30). Effect of fire on birds evaluated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100630101018.htm
FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology. "Effect of fire on birds evaluated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100630101018.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

Raw: Australian Sheep Gets Long Overdue Haircut

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Hoping to break the record for world's wooliest, Shaun the sheep came up 10 pounds shy with his fleece weighing over 50 pounds after being shorn for the first time in years. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Minds Blown: Scientists Develop Fish That Walk On Land

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) Canadian scientists looking into the very first land animals took a fish out of water and forced it to walk. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Huge Ancient Wine Cellar Found In Israel

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) An international team uncovered a large ancient wine celler that likely belonged to a Cannonite ruler. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins