Andrei A. Lebedinskii, Associate Professor of the Botany and Zoology Department of IBBM, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod (Gagarin Pr., 23, N. Novgorod, 603950, Russia); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Olga S. Noskova, Associate Professor of the Botany and Zoology Department of IBBM, Lobachevsky State University of Nizhni Novgorod (Gagarin Pr., 23, N. Novgorod, 603950, Russia); e-mail: email@example.com
Alexander I. Dmitriev, Professor of the Department of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemical education, Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University (603950, Russia, Nizhny Novgorod, Ulyanov's Street, 1); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the summer of 2010, about half of the Kerzhensky State Nature Biosphere Reserve territory (total area is 467.9 km2) suffered from a wildfire. During the seven following years, monitoring of the terrestrial vertebrate populations was conducted there. In total, six amphibian species, six reptile species, 142 bird species, and 20 small mammal species were registered. The particular wildfire impact on different vertebrate species was dissimilar. In the first year after the wildfire impact, bird populations in the habitats affected by different wildfire types were similar according to the Sorensen-Chekanovsky's index. This similarity increased over time. The species richness changed in different directions. At first study years, the abundance of the nesting bird populations increased both in burnt and unburnt sites, while later this parameter decreased a bit and stabilised. The bird populations of the unburnt habitats differ by lower indicators for the last five years. We distinguished the species (e.g. Sylvia communis) recognised as indicators of damaging by fire. These are birds which became abundant in the burnt forest, but were very rarely dominant and less abundant in unburnt forest. Fringilla coelebs was dominant in all habitats studied. For the small mammal communities, the wildfire influence affected a decrease (by 2–3 times) in the abundance and biodiversity indexes, and a change of dominants (from Clethrionomys glareolus to Apodemus flavicollis). ANOVA showed that the fires with a high degree of reliability (0.445; р-level < 1) had a higher impact on the small mammal communities. In amphibians and reptiles, the wildfire caused only a decrease in abundance followed by subsequent recovery without changes in community composition. The most intense post-fire changes in terrestrial vertebrate (Tetrapoda) populations were observed within the first five post-fire years. The amphibian and the reptile populations recovered after three post-fire years, while the recovery of bird and small mammal communities noted 4–5 years after the fire.
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