Arthropod responses to experimental fire regimes in an Australian tropical savannah: Ordinal-level analysis

  • Published source details Andersen A.N. & Müller W.J. (2000) Arthropod responses to experimental fire regimes in an Australian tropical savannah: Ordinal-level analysis. Austral Ecology, 25, 199-209.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change season/timing of prescribed burning

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Change season/timing of prescribed burning

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 1988–1995 in a tropical savannah and floodplain reserve in Northern Territory, Australia (Andersen & Müller, 2000) found that management with early season burning or no burning increased the abundance of caterpillars, but late season burning did not. After 2–5 years of burning, the abundance of caterpillars increased at sites with early (before: 1; after: 4 individuals) or no burning (before: 5; after: 8 individuals) but remained similar at sites with late burning (before: 3; after: 3 individuals). From 1990–1994, one of three fire regimes was applied annually to each of nine 15–20 km2 compartments across a 670-km2 area: early fires (lit early in dry season in May/June, equivalent to usual conservation management); late fires (lit late in dry season in September/October, equivalent to unmanaged wildfires); and unburned (no fires). Fire was excluded from all plots for 1–2 years prior to the experiment. Caterpillars were sampled by pitfall trapping and sweep-netting. Pitfall traps were set for 48 hours every November and August from 1988–1994, using 15 traps (10 m apart) per 40 × 20 m plot, with two plots/compartment, one in poorly-drained woodland and one in well-drained forest. Sweep-netting was conducted every February and May from 1989–1995, using five parallel transects of 20 sweeps each, spaced 5 m apart, over the trapping grid.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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