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Impact of wildfire on the avifauna of Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia

Recher, H.F. (1997) Impact of wildfire on the avifauna of Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia. Wildlife Research, 24 (6). pp. 745-761.

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In January 1989, a wildfire burnt 120 ha (45%) of the 267 ha of native vegetation in Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia. The area burnt included a transect along which birds had been censused during 1986 for comparison with censuses on the same transect during 1928–37 and 1952–55. Counts of birds along the transect from 1989 to 1995 indicate a slow recovery in numbers for 11 (38%) of 29 species present in 1986. Two species disappeared from the transect, but one of these was found elsewhere in the park. There are many reasons for the changes in the avifauna of Kings Park, including changes to the structure of the vegetation, the increasing isolation of the park from other native vegetation, and changes in the distribution and abundance of species outside the Perth region. The long-term trends in the avifauna and the impact of the 1989 fire indicate that a new approach to the management of the Park’s vegetation may be required. For example, to avert continuing declines in the Park’s avifauna, it may be helpful to re-establish a canopy of eucalypts and to create a more open understorey with some bare ground. However, the impact of the 1989 fire and the slow recovery of the avifauna illustrate the sensitivity of small reserves to major disturbances and the difficulty of conserving the original biota without intensive intervention.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 1997
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