The interaction between land-use change and fire regimes, directly and indirectly, affects the urban avian assemblages of Darwin, Australia

Sarah Fischer, Andrew C. Edwards, Stephen T. Garnett, Timothy G. Whiteside, Patrice Weber

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Abstract

The interaction between environmental stressors may be a greater threat to biota than any individual ecological threat on its own. Land-use change and inappropriate fire regimes are known to pose great challenges to biodiversity conservation worldwide. Despite much research being conducted into their singular impacts on ecosystems, very few have investigated how their interaction may be affecting the biota of a region. We used data from surveys in 1998/2000 and 2019/2020 to compare the feeding guild assemblages of bird communities in different habitats within the greater Darwin region. By compiling two sets of spatial data, land-use change, and fire history mapping, we were able to investigate their interaction and impact on the avian assemblages in the Darwin urban area. Using Generalized Linear Mixed Models (GLMM) we found that an increase in urbanization significantly affected fire occurrence across study sites. Furthermore, we found that the interaction between land-use change and fire regimes had a significant effect on species that primarily feed on fruit. We conclude that while an increase in urbanization did not directly affect the avian assemblages, the impact of land-use change on the fire regimes indirectly impacted urban bird community structures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10239
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEcology and Evolution
Volume13
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023

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