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Long-term changes in bird communities after wildfires in the Central Brazilian Amazon

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date07/2013
JournalBiotropica
Journal number4
Volume45
Number of pages9
Pages480-488
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We examined long-term responses of an Amazonian bird assemblage to wildfire disturbance, investigating how understory birds reacted to forest regeneration 1, 3, and 10years after a widespread fire event. The bird community was sampled along the Arapiuns and Maro river catchments in central Brazilian Amazonia. Sampling took place in 1998, 2000, and 2008 using mist-nets in eight plots (four burned, four unburned sites). Species richness did not change significantly in unburned sites. In burned sites, however, we found significantly lower richness in 1998, higher richness in 2000, and similar richness in 2008. Multi-dimensional scaling ordination showed consistent differences in bird communities both within burned sites sampled in different sampling years, and between burned and unburned sites in all years. Of the 30 most abundant species, 12 had not recovered 10years after the fires, including habitat specialists such as mixed flocks specialists and ant-followers. Fire-disturbance favored three species (two hummingbirds and a manakin) in the short term only. All other species were either favored throughout the study (seven species of omnivores and small insectivores) or did not show a clear response (eight species). In burned sites, we also found significantly lower abundance of species sensitive to disturbances and habitat specialists over the entire study period. Although the bird community seems to be recovering in terms of richness, the overall community composition and abundance of some species in post-burned and unburned sites remain very different, and have not recovered after 10years of forest regeneration.