Local-scale disturbances can benefit an endangered, fire-adapted plant species in Western Mediterranean heathlands in the absence of fire

Paniw, Maria, Salguero-Gomez, Roberto and Ojeda, Fernando (2015) Local-scale disturbances can benefit an endangered, fire-adapted plant species in Western Mediterranean heathlands in the absence of fire. Biological Conservation, 187 74-81. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.010


Author Paniw, Maria
Salguero-Gomez, Roberto
Ojeda, Fernando
Title Local-scale disturbances can benefit an endangered, fire-adapted plant species in Western Mediterranean heathlands in the absence of fire
Journal name Biological Conservation   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0006-3207
1873-2917
Publication date 2015-07-01
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.biocon.2015.04.010
Volume 187
Start page 74
End page 81
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Fire-prone Mediterranean heathlands are biodiversity hotspots and home to a multitude of fire-dependent species. Fire-suppression policies worldwide have increased the risk of extinction of such species or have delegated relative prominence to other disturbances. This study explores how such a substitution of disturbances can alter the realized niche and population structure of a post-fire specialist. Using multi-model inference, we evaluate the relative magnitude and directionality (positive or negative) in the effect of large-scale (entire range) and local-scale (southern Spain) anthropogenic disturbances on the occurrence and abundance of Drosophyllum lusitanicum. This rare carnivorous plant is endemic to heathlands in the Southwestern Iberian Peninsula and northwestern Morocco managed under strict fire suppression policies. An increase in regional-scale anthropogenic disturbances did not affect regional-scale occurrence but significantly decreased abundance of Drosophyllum. On the other hand, local-scale anthropogenic disturbances positively affected both population occurrence and abundance. We demonstrate that non-fire anthropogenic disturbances can drive the population structure and distribution of an endemic post-fire specialist in Mediterranean heathlands, but their impacts change with their spatial scale. Although large-scale disturbances may threaten populations, small-scale disturbances may be more significant for species occurrence, and positively affect the distribution and abundances of pyrophytic species. In heathlands where fire suppression is a common practice, applying such disturbance regimes can be crucial for the preservation of fire-adapted species.
Keyword Anthropogenic disturbances
Carnivorous plants
Drosophyllum lusitanicum
Fire suppression
Post-fire specialists
Pyrophytic species
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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