EFFECTS OF WILDFIRE ON LARGE MAMMAL MOVEMENT AND ACTIVITY
Samantha E. Kreling; UC Berkeley, College of Natural Resources; 137 Mulford Hall #3114, Berkeley, CA, 94720; (415) 871-1615; skreling32@berkeley.edu; Kaitlyn M. Gaynor, Alex McInturff, Justin S. Brashares
Following centuries of fire suppression, growing populations, and changing climate, wildfires in the Western United States have become more frequent and intense. While landscape studies have made important findings about this new regime of megafires, little research has been conducted on the immediate effects of fire on large mammal behavior and habitat selection. In July 2018, the largest fire in California history, the Mendocino Complex Fire, burned over 400,000 acres. The University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center is located on the southwestern edge of the Mendocino Complex burn area and offers a unique study opportunity. Using data from 30 GPS-collared black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and a grid of 37 camera traps, we are undertaking one of the first studies of large mammal behavioral responses to megafires. We aim to assess the relative changes in activity patterns and habitat use of the collared black-tailed deer and large mammals detected on camera traps in relation to post-fire resource distribution and other landscape variables through standard movement ecology metrics. We expect to find increased relative activity, home range size, and movement rates post-fire, as resources will be less available throughout the landscape and concentrated in certain areas. Additionally, we expect to find greater deer and other large mammal presence in areas less affected by fire, where food resources may be more accessible. Paper is a work in progress.
Poster Session   Student Paper