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Western North American Naturalist






Brigham Young University, Monte L Bean Life Science Museau

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We examined the response of Lazuli Bunting (Passerina amoena) to fire in Gambel oak (Quercus gambelii) woodland at Camp Williams, Utah, during 1993–1998. Overall, Lazuli Bunting abundance on the study area increased significantly during the 2 years after a stand-replacing wildfire, which covered 800 ha of Gambel oak woodland. This increase suggested that Lazuli Buntings respond positively to fire. However, a comparison of pre- and post-fire abundance of Lazuli Bunting for 2 groups of monitoring plots with different fire histories showed that abundance was significantly greater during the post-fire period for both burned and unburned plots. When we examined our data at a spatial scale appropriate to Lazuli Bunting, we found that post-fire increases observed on unburned plots were limited to plots in close proximity to the burned area. A comparison of pre- and post-fire abundance of Lazuli Bunting for 3 groups of monitoring plots located at various distances from the burned area revealed that post-fire abundance was similar only for plots within the fire boundary and for those ≤1000 m from the fire boundary; plots located >1000 m from the fire boundary had fewer individuals per plot post-fire. However, prefire Lazuli Bunting abundance was similar among all 3 categories. This differential, spatially scaled response of Lazuli Bunting to fire at the landscape level may support a hierarchical view of habitat selection.

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