Study

Effects of fire management practices on butterfly diversity in the forested western United States

  • Published source details Huntzinger M. (2003) Effects of fire management practices on butterfly diversity in the forested western United States. Biological Conservation, 113, 1-12.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance in forests

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance in forests

    A replicated, controlled study in 1998–1999 in two upland coniferous forest reserves in Oregon and California, USA (Huntzinger 2003) found that sites subjected to prescribed burning had more species of butterfly than unburned sites. In forest patches which had been burned once in the last 1–19 years, there were more species of butterfly (11–14 species/patch) than in patches not burned for at least 20 years (4–7 species/patch). There were also more species in burned “fuel-break” corridors (16 species/site) than in unburned corridors (1 species/site) and in riparian strips burned in the last 1–13 years (25 species/site) than in unburned strips (10 species/site). Butterfly species diversity was 0.5–8 times higher in the burned habitats than the unburned habitats (see paper for details). In Oregon, five upland forest patches were burned once between 1991 and 1997, and five patches were unburned since at least 1978. Five wide, shaded, corridors of thinned vegetation (“fuel breaks”) were burned and four were unburned (no dates given). In California, five upland forest patches were burned once between 1980 and 1998, and seven patches were unburned. Four riparian strips were burned once from 1986–1998, and five strips were unburned (no date given). Butterflies were surveyed along one 240-m transect/site, six times from late June–August 1998 in Oregon, and five times from late June–August 1999 in California.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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