Case Study 6: Fire Ecology, Fauna Diversity and Radio Tracking, Pinkawillinie National Park, South Australia
Fire can have drastic effects upon plant and animal diversity, as well as the lives and property of those living within or near the burn site vicinity. Managers set fires in response to these effects for a variety of aims and land uses. For example, prescribed burns are used for the mitigation of anthropogenic factors, the protection of a featured resource such as an endangered species and the protection of human life or property from wildfire, insects or disease.
Similar guidelines also underpin the hazard reduction and ecological fire management policies of Parks, State Forests and Reserves within Australia where deliberate fires are often lit to reduce the risk of high intensity wildfires as well as manage the region’s floral and faunal diversity.
In this study, mark-recapture (data kindly provided by Dr. Annabel Smith) and radio tracking techniques were used to analyze differences in gecko home range and movement between sites of varying times since fire. Understanding changes in lizard home range and movement in relation to time since fire may also provide a deeper understanding of successional response, allowing managers to adjust the spatial scale of prescribed burns to maximize the number of burn sites with ideal fire ages suitable for particularly endangered species.