Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (212 KB)

Title: Mechanisms driving postfire abundance of a generalist mammal

Author: Zwolak, R.; Pearson, D. E.; Ortega, Y. K.; Crone, E. E.;

Date: 2012

Source: Canadian Journal of Zoology. 90: 51-60.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Changes in vertebrate abundance following disturbance are commonly attributed to shifts in food resources or predation pressure, but underlying mechanisms have rarely been tested. We examined four hypotheses for the commonly reported increase in abundance of deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner, 1845)) following forest fires: source-sink dynamics, decreased predation, increased food resources, and increased foraging efficiency. We found that reproduction of deer mouse was considerably higher in burned versus unburned forests and survival did not differ between habitats, indicating that burned forests were not sink habitats. Comparable survival also suggested that predation rates were similar between habitats. Increased reproduction in burned versus unburned forest suggested better resource conditions, but abundance of seeds and arthropods (the primary food resources for mice) either did not differ between habitats or were higher overall in unburned forest. Foraging experiments indicated that seed removal from depots was substantially higher in burned versus unburned forests after controlling for mouse density. Additionally, in both habitats, mice were captured more often in open microhabitats and the odds of individual insect removal increased with decreasing cover during certain sampling periods. Of the four hypotheses tested, greater foraging efficiency provided the best explanation for elevated populations of deer mouse. However, predation risk may have influenced foraging success.

Keywords: vertebrate abundance, forest fires, mechanisms, source-sink dynamics, decreased predation, food resources, foraging efficiency

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.



Zwolak, R.; Pearson, D. E. ; Ortega, Y. K.; Crone, E. E. 2012. Mechanisms driving postfire abundance of a generalist mammal. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 90: 51-60.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.