Pyrodiversity is the coupling of biodiversity and fire regimes in food webs

David Bowman, George Perry, Steven Higgins, C Johnson, SD Fuhlendorf, Brett Murphy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Fire positively and negatively affects food webs across all trophic levels and guilds and influences a range of ecological processes that reinforce fire regimes, such as nutrient cycling and soil development, plant regeneration and growth, plant community assembly and dynamics, herbivory and predation. Thus we argue that rather than merely describing spatio-temporal patterns of fire regimes, pyrodiversity must be understood in terms of feedbacks between fire regimes, biodiversity and ecological processes. Humans shape pyrodiversity both directly, by manipulating the intensity, severity, frequency and extent of fires, and indirectly, by influencing the abundance and distribution of various trophic guilds through hunting and husbandry of animals, and introduction and cultivation of plant species. Conceptualizing landscape fire as deeply embedded in food webs suggests that the restoration of degraded ecosystems requires the simultaneous careful management of fire regimes and native and invasive plants and animals, and may include introducing new vertebrates to compensate for extinctions that occurred in the recent and more distant past.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-11
    Number of pages11
    JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
    Volume371
    Issue number1696
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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