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Data from: Cross-scale occupancy dynamics of a post-fire specialist in response to variation across a fire regime

Cite this dataset

Tingley, Morgan W. et al. (2019). Data from: Cross-scale occupancy dynamics of a post-fire specialist in response to variation across a fire regime [Dataset]. Dryad.


1. Fire creates challenges and opportunities for wildlife through rapid destruction, modification, and creation of habitat. Fire has spatially variable effects on landscapes, however, and for species that benefit from the ephemeral resource patches created by fire, it is critical to understand characteristics of fires that promote post-fire colonization and persistence, and the spatial scales on which they operate. 2. Using a model post-fire specialist, the black-backed woodpecker (Picoides arcticus), we examined how colonization and persistence varied across two spatial scales as a function of four characteristics of fire regimes – fire severity, fire size, fire ignition date, and number of years since fire. 3. We modeled black-backed woodpecker colonization and persistence using data from 108 recently burned forests in the Sierra Nevada and southern Cascades ecoregions of California, USA that we monitored for up to 10 years following fire. We employed a novel, spatially-hierarchical, dynamic occupancy framework which differentiates colonization and persistence at two spatial scales: across fires and within fires. 4. We found strong effects of fire characteristics on dynamic rates, with both colonization and persistence declining across both spatial scales with increasing years since fire. Additionally, at sites within fires, colonization decreased with fire size, and increased with fire severity and for fires with later ignition dates. 5. Our results support the notion that different aspects of a species’ environment are important for population processes at different spatial scales. As habitat quality is ephemeral for any given post-fire area, our results illustrate the importance of time since fire in structuring occupancy at the fire level, with other characteristics of fires playing larger roles in determining abundance within individual fires. Our results contribute to the broader understanding of how variation in fire characteristics influence the colonization and persistence of species using ephemeral habitats, which is necessary for conserving and promoting post-fire biodiversity in the context of rapidly shifting fire regimes.

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Sierra Nevada