Bridging the Divide: Integrating Animal and Plant Paradigms to Secure the Future of Biodiversity in Fire-Prone Ecosystems
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 30105, Australia
InForest Joint Research Unit (CREAF-CTFC), Crta. de Sant Llorenç de Morunys, Km. 2, 25280 Solsona, Spain
CREAF, Campus de Bellaterra (UAB) Edifici C 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
CSIC, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain
School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
CIDE-CSIC, Ctra. Naquera Km. 4.5, 46113 Montcada, Valencia, Spain
Department of Zoology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fire 2018, 1(2), 29; https://doi.org/10.3390/fire1020029
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 7 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
Conserving animals and plants in fire-prone landscapes requires evidence of how fires affect modified ecosystems. Despite progress on this front, fire ecology is restricted by a dissonance between two dominant paradigms: ‘fire mosaics’ and ‘functional types’. The fire mosaic paradigm focuses on animal responses to fire events and spatial variation, whereas the functional type paradigm focuses on plant responses to recurrent fires and temporal variation. Fire management for biodiversity conservation requires input from each paradigm because animals and plants are interdependent and influenced by spatial and temporal dimensions of fire regimes. We propose that better integration of animal-based and plant-based approaches can be achieved by identifying common metrics that describe changes in multiple taxa; linking multiple components of the fire regime with animal and plant data; understanding plant-animal interactions; and incorporating spatial and temporal characteristics of fires into conservation management. Our vision for a more integrated fire ecology could be implemented via a collaborative and global network of research and monitoring sites, where measures of animals and plants are linked to real-time data on fire regimes.