The Effects of Fire on Avian Communities: Spatio-Temporal Attributes of the Literature 1912-2003

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International Journal of Wildland Fire





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We reviewed the temporal, geographic, and biogeographic distribution, as well as relevant research and publication attributes, of 512 documents addressing the effects of fire on avian communities, to provide an assessment of the scope of this literature and recommendations for future research. We summarized relevant attributes of all documents to identify patterns that were then tested against appropriate null models. Most documents reported on original research, with the literature evenly divided between studies investigating controlled fire and those reporting on uncontrolled wildfires. Conceptual reviews made up the second largest category; methodological reviews, bibliographies, and meta-analyses were rare. Although the literature examined spans nearly a century, most documents were published within the last 15 years, with new literature being added at an increasing rate. However, increases seem to be skewed towards original research at the expense of synthesis. An overwhelming majority of documents were published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and in English. Other important publication outlets included MS and PhD theses and conference proceedings. The spatial distribution of documents by continent and biogeographic domain and division differed significantly from expectations based on land area. Future research on avian community response to fire should focus on (1) continued synthesis, emphasizing methodological reviews, bibliographies, and North America; (2) increasing research efforts in areas currently underrepresented in the literature, including Africa, Asia, and South and Central America; and (3) meta-analyses.

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