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What Works in Conservation 2017

William J. Sutherland
Lynn V. Dicks
Nancy Ockendon
et al.


2.8 Threat: Natural system modification – natural fire and fire suppression

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Based on the collated evidence, what is the current assessment of the effectiveness of interventions for natural system modification?

Trade-offs between benefit and harms

● Use prescribed burning

Trade-off between benefit and harms

Use prescribed burning

1Four studies in North America looked at bat activity and prescribed burning. One replicated, controlled, site comparison study found no difference in bat activity between burned and unburned forest. One replicated, site comparison study found higher activity of bat species that forage in the open in burned than unburned stands. One site comparison study found higher bat activity in forest preserves when prescribed burning was used with other restoration practices. One controlled, replicated, before-and-after study found that the home ranges of bats were closer to burned stands following fires. Four studies in North America (three replicated and one controlled) found bats roosting more often in burned areas, or equally in burned and unburned forest. Assessment: trade-offs between benefits and harms (effectiveness 65%; certainty 50%; harms 20%).​actions/​1006


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