Pyrodiversity interacts with rainfall to increase bird and mammal richness in African savannas

Beale, C. M., Courtney Mustaphi, C. J., Morrison, T. A., Archibald, S., Anderson, T. M., Dobson, A. P., Donaldson, J. E., Hempson, G. P., Probert, J. and Parr, C. L. (2018) Pyrodiversity interacts with rainfall to increase bird and mammal richness in African savannas. Ecology Letters, 21, pp. 557-567. (doi:10.1111/ele.12921) (PMID:29441661)

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Abstract

Fire is a fundamental process in savannas and is widely used for management. Pyrodiversity, variation in local fire characteristics, has been proposed as a driver of biodiversity although empirical evidence is equivocal. Using a new measure of pyrodiversity (Hempson et al.), we undertook the first continent-wide assessment of how pyrodiversity affects biodiversity in protected areas across African savannas. The influence of pyrodiversity on bird and mammal species richness varied with rainfall: strongest support for a positive effect occurred in wet savannas (> 650 mm/year), where species richness increased by 27% for mammals and 40% for birds in the most pyrodiverse regions. Range-restricted birds were most increased by pyrodiversity, suggesting the diversity of fire regimes increases the availability of rare niches. Our findings are significant because they explain the conflicting results found in previous studies of savannas. We argue that managing savanna landscapes to increase pyrodiversity is especially important in wet savannas.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work forms part of the ‘Uncovering the variable roles of fire in savannah ecosystems’ project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust under grant IN-2014-022. GPH was funded by DST Global Change Grand Challenge grant number 92464. JP was funded by an NERC studentship via the ACCE DTP. CCM was supported by a European Commission Marie Curie Initial Training Network grant (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN project number 606879).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Morrison, Dr Thomas
Authors: Beale, C. M., Courtney Mustaphi, C. J., Morrison, T. A., Archibald, S., Anderson, T. M., Dobson, A. P., Donaldson, J. E., Hempson, G. P., Probert, J., and Parr, C. L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology Letters
Publisher:Wiley
ISSN:1461-023X
ISSN (Online):1461-0248
Published Online:14 February 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 The Authors
First Published:First published in Ecology Letters 21:557-567
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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