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Project ID: 12-4-01-5

Year: 2012

Date Started: 09/01/2012

Date Completed: 11/13/2013

Title: Archiving of Data on Occurrence of Breeding Birds Associated With Fire Treatments and Controls

Project Proposal Abstract: There are few sets of long-term, spatially extensive data on distributions and abundance of fauna or extensive characterizations of vegetation in the Great Basin. These data have considerable capacity to inform understanding and management of altered fire regimes, conversion of vegetation to cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum), and evaluations of the status of species proposed for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Since 2001, we have collected data on occupancy and abundance of Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) and other species of breeding birds in the central Great Basin, and characterized the vegetation structure and composition of their habitats, through three previous projects and an ongoing project supported by the Joint Fire Science Program. Our work has provided insight into baseline status and trend of breeding birds and drivers of their occupancy over space and time. On the basis of our work, projections of avifaunal occupancy can be developed as statistical functions of scenarios of future vegetation change, including those affected by prescribed fire, wildfire, and other fuels treatments. Since 2001, we have established 389 survey points: 60 in the Shoshone Mountains, 172 in the Toiyabe Range, 75 in the Toquima Range, and 82 in the Monitor Range (Lander, Eureka, and Nye counties, Nevada). Survey points were located along the full elevational gradient of each canyon we sampled, typically with two or three points per 100 m of vertical elevation change. Points were positioned to sample, in approximate proportion to areal extent, the dominant land-cover types throughout the canyons. We added bird-survey points over time to increase the sample size of points treated with prescribed fire or wildfire. Thirteen points were treated in 2000, two in 2002, eight in 2004, ten in 2005, four in 2006, and four in 2008. We also added points to serve as controls for the new treated points. We currently survey birds at 314 points either every year or every other year. We have surveyed birds at 73 sites over 8 to 11 years and at an additional 178 sites over 5 to 8 years. We have measured vegetation in bird-survey points treated with prescribed fire or wildfire at 23 year intervals since treatment; treatment dates ranged from 2000 to 2009. Vegetation at ten points scheduled for treatment in 2012 was measured in 2010. We measured vegetation multiple times at 42 control points in the focal canyons that were treated with fire or in adjacent canyons. Vegetation at the majority of untreated points that serve as planned controls for the treated points was measured once between 2002 and 2008, typically within a year of establishment of the point. Data included in refereed publications to date are based on fixed-radius point counts with a radius of 75 m and a duration of 5 minutes per visit, the distances and duration of point counts conducted from 2001 through 2003. These data are archived with the Forest Service Research and Development data archive. Since 2004, however, we have conducted 100-m fixed-radius point counts with a duration of 8 minutes per visit. We also record birds detected beyond the 100-m radius and during travel among point-count locations or other times of day (e.g., owls after dark). We propose to archive the full set of bird data, which includes approximately twice as many records as currently deposited. We also propose to archive data on vegetation structure and composition.

Principal Investigator: Erica Fleishman

Agency/Organization: University of California-Davis

Branch or Dept: John Muir Institute of the Environment

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Victoria L. Whistler

University of California-Davis

Office of Research

Budget Contact

Kelly C. Carner

University of California-Davis

John Muir Institute of the Environment

Co-Principal Investigator

Jeanne C. Chambers

Forest Service

RMRS-Forestry Sciences Lab-Reno

Co-Principal Investigator

David Dobkin

High Desert Ecological Research Institute

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network

Great Basin






Interior West





Toiyabe National Forest

Project Deliverables

Final Report view or print

("Results presented in JFSP Final Reports may not have been peer-reviewed and should be interpreted as tentative until published in a peer-reviewed source.")

  ID Type Title
view or print   7343 Photo Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), Underdown Canyon, Shoshone Mountains, Nevada
view or print   7344 Photo Red-naped x Red-breasted Sapsucker hybrid (Sphyrapicus nuchalis x ruber), Underdown Canyon
  go to website 7341 Dataset (including spatial) Incidental and long-distance bird observations in the Shoshone, Toiyabe, Toquima, and Monitor ranges
  go to website 7342 Dataset (including spatial) Vegetation structure and composition in the Shoshone Mountains and Toiyabe, Toquima, and Monitor ran
view or print   7345 Photo Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), Big Smoky Valley

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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