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Fire-created habitats support large mammal community in a Mediterranean landscape

  • Anil SoyumertEmail author
  • Alper Ertürk
  • Çağatay Tavşanoğlu
Original Paper

Abstract

Large mammals play significant roles in shaping the trophic structure of terrestrial ecosystems and affect the form of vegetation growth in many habitats. We studied large mammal community in a Mediterranean habitat mosaic generated by fires originally dominated by pine forests. We conducted camera-trapping surveys in three study sites with different fire histories, and we recorded eight large mammal species including brown bear (Ursus arctos), caracal (Caracal caracal), and wild goat (Capra aegagrus), which are of conservation importance. The mammal community found in the study sites was functionally diverse, including herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, seed dispersers, soil diggers, main preys, and top predators. The site burned 13 years ago had higher species richness than can be expected from a random pattern, but this was not the case in 30- and >40-year-old sites, showing the importance of relatively younger sites for large mammals. Eurasian badger had more probability to have more abundance in places with more open vegetation while wild goat had higher abundance in more dense vegetation. Young individuals of wild goat, brown bear, and wild boar were also detected in the study sites. The results indicate that burned habitats harbor a phylogenetically and functionally diverse large mammal community in landscapes originally dominated by Mediterranean pine forests. Therefore, these forests continue to retain importance for the large mammals after the fire, and burned habitats should be taken into consideration for the conservation and management plans together with mature forests in Mediterranean ecosystems.

Keywords

Camera-trapping Large mammals Mediterranean Basin Post-fire habitats Turkey Wildlife management 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Behzat Gürkan for his support for the project and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. This research was carried out by the permission of General Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks of Turkey.

Funding information

This research was funded by the State Planning Organisation of Turkey (DPT, project no. 2007K120920).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Game and Wildlife ProgrammeKastamonu UniversityKastamonuTurkey
  2. 2.Division of Ecology, Department of BiologyHacettepe UniversityAnkaraTurkey

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