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Pyrodiversity interacts with rainfall to increase bird andmammal richness in African savannas
Department of Biology, University of York, Heslington, York, UK.
York Institute for Tropical Ecosystems, Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York, UK.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4439-2590
Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.
Centre for African Ecology, School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.; Natural Resources and the Environment, CSIR, Pretoria, South Africa.
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2018 (English)In: Ecology Letters, ISSN 1461-023X, E-ISSN 1461-0248Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

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 (Hempsonet 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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018.
Keywords [en]
Bats, birds, conservation, fire, fire management, INLA, mammals, protected areas
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Biology with specialization in Animal Conservation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-342005DOI: 10.1111/ele.12921OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-342005DiVA, id: diva2:1183445
Available from: 2018-02-16 Created: 2018-02-16 Last updated: 2018-02-19Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12921/epdf

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