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Potential Positive Effects of Fire on Juvenile Amphibians in a Southern USA Pine Forest

Brown et al., 2011

Potential Positive Effects of Fire on Juvenile Amphibians in a Southern USA Pine Forest

Prescribed fire is a common tool used to conserve and manage the integrity of forest ecosystems. We investigated short-term juvenile amphibian capture and body condition changes subsequent to fire (i.e., one prescribed burn and two wildfires) in a southern United States pine forest. We surveyed amphibians and predatory invertebrates before and after fires occurring during summer 2010. We tested for treatment (i.e., control, wildfire, or prescribed burn) and status (i.e., preburn or postburn) differences in 1) genus-level captures, 2) amphibian health (inferred through a body condition index), and 3) predatory invertebrate captures. Bufo and Scaphiopus captures increased in the prescribed burn treatment; whereas, no differences in Gastrophryne captures were observed. We did not detect a burn status effect on amphibian body condition. Predatory invertebrate captures were higher postburn in the control and wildfire treatments. Neither a low-intensity prescribed burn nor high-intensity wildfires negatively impacted short-term juvenile amphibian captures. Further, we speculate that Bufo and Scaphiopus survivorship may have been higher after the prescribed burn.

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