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Data from: Multi-trophic occupancy modeling connects temporal dynamics of woodpeckers and beetle sign following fire


Tingley, Morgan et al. (2023), Data from: Multi-trophic occupancy modeling connects temporal dynamics of woodpeckers and beetle sign following fire, Dryad, Dataset,


In conifer forests of western North America, wildlife populations can change rapidly in the decade following wildfire as trees die and animals respond to concomitant resource pulses that occur across multiple trophic levels. In particular, black-backed woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus) show predictable temporal increases then declines following fire; this trajectory is widely believed to be a response to the woodpeckers' main prey, woodboring beetle larvae of the families Buprestidae and Cerambycidae, but we lack understanding of how abundances of these predators and prey may be associated in time or space. Here, we pair woodpecker surveys over 10 years with surveys of woodboring beetle sign and activity, collected at 128 survey plots across 22 recent fires, to ask whether accumulated beetle sign indicates current or past black-backed woodpecker occurrence, and whether that relationship is mediated by the number of years since fire. We test this relationship using an integrative multi-trophic occupancy model. Our results demonstrate that woodboring beetle sign is a positive indicator of woodpecker presence 1–3 years following fire, an uninformative indicator from 4-6 years after fire, and a negative indicator beginning 7 years following fire. Woodboring beetle activity, itself, is temporally variable and dependent on tree species composition, with beetle sign generally accumulating over time, particularly in stands with diverse tree communities, but decreasing over time in Pinus-dominated stands where faster bark decay rates lead to brief pulses of beetle activity followed by rapid degradation of tree substrate and accumulated beetle sign. Altogether, the strong connections of woodpecker occurrence to beetle activity support prior hypotheses of how multi-trophic interactions govern rapid temporal dynamics of primary and secondary consumers in burned forests. While our results indicate that beetle sign is, at best, a rapidly shifting and potentially misleading measure of woodpecker occurrence, the better we understand the interacting mechanisms underlying temporally dynamic systems, the more successfully we will be able to predict the outcomes of management actions.


The dataset is a combination of (1) data on the detection and non-detection of black-backed woodpeckers and (2) woodboring beetle surveys at points located within fires in the Sierra Nevada, California. All details on data collection are provided within the associated mansucript. Very limited pre-processing was done to data prior to their inclusion in the attached files. Primarily, data have been re-formatted from database flat-files into R-based data objects that faciliate analysis. The included code provides additional processing and formatting, as well as running the primary JAGS model analysis, as described in the manuscript.

Usage notes

Files include 1 .R code script file and 2 .Rdata data files. The code script is text-based and can be opened in any .txt reader. The .Rdata files are intended to be opened up directly within the R programming environment. R can be downloaded for free at


U.S. Forest Service