Conservation planning in a fire-prone Mediterranean region: threats and opportunities for bird species

Vallecillo, Sara, Hermoso, Virgilio, Possingham, Hugh P. and Brotons, Lluis (2013) Conservation planning in a fire-prone Mediterranean region: threats and opportunities for bird species. Landscape Ecology, 28 8: 1517-1528. doi:10.1007/s10980-013-9904-y

Author Vallecillo, Sara
Hermoso, Virgilio
Possingham, Hugh P.
Brotons, Lluis
Title Conservation planning in a fire-prone Mediterranean region: threats and opportunities for bird species
Journal name Landscape Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0921-2973
Publication date 2013-10-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s10980-013-9904-y
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 28
Issue 8
Start page 1517
End page 1528
Total pages 12
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer
Language eng
Abstract In response to the processes threatening biodiversity such as habitat loss, effective selection of priority conservation areas is required. However, reserve selection methods usually ignore the drivers of future habitat changes, thus compromising the effectiveness of conservation. In this work, we formulated an approach to explicitly quantify the impact of fire on conservation areas, considering such disturbance as a driver of land-cover changes. The estimated fire impact was integrated as a constraint in the reserve selection process to tackle the likely threats or opportunities that fire disturbance might cause to the targeted species depending on their habitat requirements. In this way, we selected conservation areas in a fire-prone Mediterranean region for two bird assemblages: forest and open-habitat species. Differences in conservation areas selected before and after integrating the impact of fire in the reserve selection process were assessed. Integration of fire impact for forest species moved preferences towards areas that were less prone to burn. However, a larger area was required to achieve the same conservation goals. Conversely, integration of fire impacts for open-habitat species shifted preferences towards conservation areas in locations where the persistence of their required habitat is more likely (i.e. shrublands). In other words, we prioritized the conservation of not only the current distribution of open-habitat birds, but also the disturbance process (i.e. fire) that favours their preferred habitat and distributions in the long term. Finally, this work emphasizes the need to consider the opposing potential impacts of wildfires on species for an effective conservation planning.
Keyword Wildfires
Land-cover changes
Priority areas
Fire impact
Bird assemblage
Spatial planning
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID CGL2008-05506-C02-01/BOS
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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