Changes in rodent community during recovery from fire: relevance to conservation

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Fire is a common disturbance in the Mediterranean ecosystem. A fire that broke out in the eastern Mediterranean pine forest on Mount Carmel in September 1989 destroyed thousands of hectares of natural forest. We carried out a comparative study of rodent recovery after fire under three different management regimes in order to establish the best treatment for recovery. Rodents were used as 'bio-indicators', because of their limited home range, to assess the best management practice to be used in the recovery of the post-fire habitat. Our results show that the three arboreal Palaeoarctic species which lived in this habitat before the fire either died during the fire or left the habitat as a result of its destruction. A succession of rodent species was observed. The untreated burned forest had the highest species diversity in the initial stage, while during a later stage the highest diversity was observed in plots where the burned trees were cut down, the trunks removed and the twigs collected into small piles. The results also suggest that removing the trunks and twigs at the initial stage of recolonization results in a more xeric and warm habitat which will postpone the reinvasion of the forest species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-585
Number of pages13
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1994


  • Mediterranean ecosystem
  • fire
  • rodents
  • succession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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