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Ashes still smoking: the influence of fire and land cover on Pantanal ecoregion amphibians

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posted on 2023-11-23, 12:37 authored by Leonardo F.B. Moreira, Natália P. Smaniotto, Karoline Ceron, Diego J. Santana, Vanda L. Ferreira, Christine Strüssmann, Ulisses Galatti

Fire and land cover are two elements intertwined with the natural history of organisms from seasonally dry environments. Here, we investigated the influence of fire attributes (burned area and frequently-burned area) and land cover on the relative abundance of three amphibians from the Pantanal ecoregion that belong to distinct ecomorphological groups: Chiasmocleis albopunctata, Pseudis platensis, and Scinax acuminatus. We systematically reviewed amphibian ecology studies in the Pantanal and analysed quantitative data between 2000 and 2021, comprising 34 sites from 12 amphibian surveys. Amphibian abundance, land cover, and fire data were assessed within buffers of a 1,000 m radius. Species abundance was correlated with burned area and wetland cover. While the abundance of C. albopunctata and P. platensis decreased with burned area in the last three years, the abundance of S. acuminatus increased with wetland cover. Despite the claimed resilience of species inhabiting grasslands and savannas, there was substantial evidence for the influence of burned areas, even under modest human land use. Our findings illustrate that a broad array of land cover and fire attributes may influence amphibian persistence in the Pantanal ecoregion, with the magnitude depending on species traits often overlooked in modelling approaches.

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