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A global synthesis of fire effects on pollinators

Author(s): Lucas M. Carbone, Julia Tavella, Juli G. Pausas, Ramiro Aguilar
Year Published: 2019

Aim: Understanding fire effects on pollinators is critical in the context of fire regime changes and the global pollination crisis. Through a systematic and quantitative review of the literature, we provide the first global assessment of pollinator responses to fire. We hypothesize that pollinators increase after fire and during the early postfire succession stages; however, high fire frequency has the opposite effect, decreasing pollinators.

Location: Terrestrial ecosystems, excluding Antarctica.

Time period: Data collected from 1973 to 2017. Major taxa studied: Insects (Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera) and a few bird species.

Results: The overall effect size of fire on pollinator abundance and richness across all studies was positive. Fire effect was especially clear and significant in early postfire communities, after wildfires, and for Hymenoptera. Taxonomic resolution influenced fire effects, where only studies at the species/genus and family levels showed significant effects. The main exceptions were recurrent fires that showed a negative effect, and especially wildfire effects on Lepidoptera abundance that showed a significant negative response.

Main conclusions: Pollinators tend to be promoted after a wildfire event. However, short fire intervals may threat pollinators, and especially lepidopterans. Given the current fire regime changes at the global scale, it is imperative to monitor postfire pollinators across many ecosystems, as our results suggest that fire regime is critical in determining the dynamics of pollinator communities.


Citation: Carbone, Lucas M.; Tavella, Julia; Pausas, Juli G.; Aguilar, Ramiro. 2019. A global synthesis of fire effects on pollinators. Global Ecology and Biogeography 28(10):1487-1498. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12939|
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Fire & Wildlife, Invertebrates, Pollinators
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 20328
FRAMES RCS number: 58158
Record updated: Nov 21, 2019