Short-Term Effects of Prescribed Burning on Ant (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) Assemblages in Ozark Forests


Prescribed fire is a valuable and effective tool in forest management, and understanding the effects of fire on animal communities is increasingly important for monitoring and conservation. We quantified the short-term responses of leaf litter ants to fire in Ozark oak-dominated forests of Arkansas. We repeatedly surveyed litter ants in replicate burned and unburned sites via Berlese extraction, baiting, and hand collecting 30-170 d postfire. We collected 6,301 ants representing 59 species. Cumulative ant species richness was lower in burned forests than in unburned forests. However, differences in average richness and abundance between treatments were inconsistent overtime; lower ant abundance and species richness in burned sites occurred only during the first few months postburn. Ant species composition was very similar between treatments, although some species typically associated within mesic and lowland habitats were found only in unburned forests. We conclude that litter ant communities in Ozark forests, as in other regions, are relatively resilient to the effects of prescribed burning.


Biological Sciences

Keywords and Phrases

Abundance; Arkansas; Community; Disturbance; Fire

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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© 2013 Entomological Society of America, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2013