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FIRE EFFECTS AND USE

WILDLIFE SPECIES: Perognathus parvus | Great Basin Pocket Mouse
DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Fire has little direct effect on fossorial mammals in their burrows [22]. Since Great Basin pocket mice are mostly active at night at all times of the year, and tend to aestivate during the hot, dry periods when wildfire usually occurs, fire probably has little direct impact on Great Basin pocket mice. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : Great Basin pocket mice tend to converge on recent burns. They were adundant in early stages of plant succession following wildfire in a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) community in Washoe County, Nevada. Great Basin pocket mice comprised 67 percent of all rodents present on burned sites and 55 percent of all rodents present on unburned sites (averaged over postfire years 1-3) [29]. In a short-term study in Lava Beds National Park, California, Great Basin pocket mice were most adundant on burned sites following June prescribed burning of a western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis)-antelope bitterbrush-curlleaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) community. During the first 2 postfire months, 26 Great Basin pocket mice were trapped on the burn and 16 were trapped on the unburned control. By September, Great Basin pocket mouse use of burned and unburned areas was about equal (13 and 12 trappings, respectively) [15]. Great Basin pocket mouse populations can increase greatly when fire is followed by favorable precipitation the next growing season. A wildfire in pristine big sagebrush/bluebunch wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata) on 13 August, 1973, was followed by above-average precipitation (330 mm in 1974 compared to 120 mm in 1973) and high plant productivity in 1974. The Great Basin pocket mouse population had been censused prior to the wildfire. The numer of individuals trapped on transects in 1973 and 1974 was [22]: 1973 1974 __________________________ June: 20* June: 15 Oct: 4 Oct: 150 Nov: 0 Nov: 130 __________________________ *prefire census Prescribed fire apparently slightly reduced Great Basin pocket mouse adundance in a singleleaf pinyon-Utah juniper (Pinus monophylla- Juniperus osteosperma) community in east-central Nevada. Average number of Great Basin pocket mice caught on transects was [31]: Burn Burned Unburned ecotone ___________________________________________________ postfire year 1 0.5 0.8 --- postfire year 2 1.3 1.8 1.3 ___________________________________________________ Cheatgrass: Fire in cheatgrass can favor Great Basin pocket mice when fire is followed by above-average precipitation. On the Columbia River plain of south-central Washington, Brandt and Rickard [6] found Great Basin pocket mouse numbers were greater in recently burned areas (3 years since wildfire) dominated almost exclusively by cheatgrass than in big sagebrush-cheatgrass areas. Great Basin pocket mouse numbers were greatest, however, in antelope bitterbrush-Indian ricegrass communities. Numbers were probably greatest in the native plant community because cheatgrass production is unpredictable. Although it is often high, it can be very low in dry years. Gano and Rickard [16] found Great Basin pocket mice had greater long-term survival rates in shrub-native grass stands than in cheatgrass stands. Following a 1963 wildfire that burned 10,095 acres (4,038 ha) of an antelope bitterbrush-big sagebrush community in south-central Washington, and a 1973 repeat wildfire that consumed even more acreage, burned areas become dominated by cheatgrass. From 1974 to 1979, a Great Basin pocket mouse population on the burn showed greater year-to-year fluctuation than a population on the unburned control. By spring 1978, Great Basin pocket mice were estimated to be 3 times more adundant on unburned areas than on burned areas. In 1978, following a year of low plant productivity due to drought, 15 Great Basin pocket mice were trapped on the unburned control, while only one individual was trapped on the burn [16]. Eight years after wildfire on the Doyle Wildlife Management Area near Reno, Nevada, the burned area was dominated by cheatgrass, skeleton weed (Lygodesmia spinosa), buckwheat (Eriogonum nudum), and desert peach (Prunus andersonii). Unburned areas were dominated by antelope bitterbrush, big sagebrush, and desert peach. Great Basin pocket mouse density was greater on unburned areas than on burned areas. Fifteen individuals were trapped on an unburned area, while only one individual was trapped on the burn [10]. FIRE USE : REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY

Related categories for Wildlife Species: Perognathus parvus | Great Basin Pocket Mouse

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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