Speaker: David Mason, PhD Student, Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida
Webinar Partners: The Southern Fire Exchange, NC State University, and the University of Florida
Description: Land managers often incorporate ecological principles into their planned fire regimes. One ecological principle that may affect the conservation outcome of prescribed fires is that ecological interactions are often spatial scale-dependent. While this principle is well researched in ecology, our review of the fire ecology literature indicated it is rarely studied in this context. Moreover, we analyzed trends in the size of prescribed fires over the past few decades to reveal that they tend to be larger than unsuppressed lightning ignited fires. We don’t know for sure if or how mismatches in the spatial scale of fire may impact wildlife and plants but we used previous literature from the southeastern United States to highlight some important interactions that may be fire spatial-scale dependent. Our series of analyses indicates that additional research focused on understanding spatial scale dependent patterns are needed to inform management which often occurs at larger scales than the research informing it.