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      Fire as a driver and mediator of predator–prey interactions

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          ABSTRACT

          Both fire and predators have strong influences on the population dynamics and behaviour of animals, and the effects of predators may either be strengthened or weakened by fire. However, knowledge of how fire drives or mediates predator–prey interactions is fragmented and has not been synthesised. Here, we review and synthesise knowledge of how fire influences predator and prey behaviour and interactions. We develop a conceptual model based on predator–prey theory and empirical examples to address four key questions: ( i) how and why do predators respond to fire; ( ii) how and why does prey vulnerability change post‐fire; ( iii) what mechanisms do prey use to reduce predation risk post‐fire; and ( iv) what are the outcomes of predator–fire interactions for prey populations? We then discuss these findings in the context of wildlife conservation and ecosystem management before outlining priorities for future research. Fire‐induced changes in vegetation structure, resource availability, and animal behaviour influence predator–prey encounter rates, the amount of time prey are vulnerable during an encounter, and the conditional probability of prey death given an encounter. How a predator responds to fire depends on fire characteristics (e.g. season, severity), their hunting behaviour (ambush or pursuit predator), movement behaviour, territoriality, and intra‐guild dynamics. Prey species that rely on habitat structure for avoiding predation often experience increased predation rates and lower survival in recently burnt areas. By contrast, some prey species benefit from the opening up of habitat after fire because it makes it easier to detect predators and to modify their behaviour appropriately. Reduced prey body condition after fire can increase predation risk either through impaired ability to escape predators, or increased need to forage in risky areas due to being energetically stressed. To reduce risk of predation in the post‐fire environment, prey may change their habitat use, increase sheltering behaviour, change their movement behaviour, or use camouflage through cryptic colouring and background matching. Field experiments and population viability modelling show instances where fire either amplifies or does not amplify the impacts of predators on prey populations, and vice versa. In some instances, intense and sustained post‐fire predation may lead to local extinctions of prey populations. Human disruption of fire regimes is impacting faunal communities, with consequences for predator and prey behaviour and population dynamics. Key areas for future research include: capturing data continuously before, during and after fires; teasing out the relative importance of changes in visibility and shelter availability in different contexts; documenting changes in acoustic and olfactory cues for both predators and prey; addressing taxonomic and geographic biases in the literature; and predicting and testing how changes in fire‐regime characteristics reshape predator–prey interactions. Understanding and managing the consequences for predator–prey communities will be critical for effective ecosystem management and species conservation in this era of global change.

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          Fire in the Earth system.

          Fire is a worldwide phenomenon that appears in the geological record soon after the appearance of terrestrial plants. Fire influences global ecosystem patterns and processes, including vegetation distribution and structure, the carbon cycle, and climate. Although humans and fire have always coexisted, our capacity to manage fire remains imperfect and may become more difficult in the future as climate change alters fire regimes. This risk is difficult to assess, however, because fires are still poorly represented in global models. Here, we discuss some of the most important issues involved in developing a better understanding of the role of fire in the Earth system.
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            Status and ecological effects of the world's largest carnivores.

            Large carnivores face serious threats and are experiencing massive declines in their populations and geographic ranges around the world. We highlight how these threats have affected the conservation status and ecological functioning of the 31 largest mammalian carnivores on Earth. Consistent with theory, empirical studies increasingly show that large carnivores have substantial effects on the structure and function of diverse ecosystems. Significant cascading trophic interactions, mediated by their prey or sympatric mesopredators, arise when some of these carnivores are extirpated from or repatriated to ecosystems. Unexpected effects of trophic cascades on various taxa and processes include changes to bird, mammal, invertebrate, and herpetofauna abundance or richness; subsidies to scavengers; altered disease dynamics; carbon sequestration; modified stream morphology; and crop damage. Promoting tolerance and coexistence with large carnivores is a crucial societal challenge that will ultimately determine the fate of Earth's largest carnivores and all that depends upon them, including humans.
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              Climate-induced variations in global wildfire danger from 1979 to 2013

              Climate strongly influences global wildfire activity, and recent wildfire surges may signal fire weather-induced pyrogeographic shifts. Here we use three daily global climate data sets and three fire danger indices to develop a simple annual metric of fire weather season length, and map spatio-temporal trends from 1979 to 2013. We show that fire weather seasons have lengthened across 29.6 million km2 (25.3%) of the Earth's vegetated surface, resulting in an 18.7% increase in global mean fire weather season length. We also show a doubling (108.1% increase) of global burnable area affected by long fire weather seasons (>1.0 σ above the historical mean) and an increased global frequency of long fire weather seasons across 62.4 million km2 (53.4%) during the second half of the study period. If these fire weather changes are coupled with ignition sources and available fuel, they could markedly impact global ecosystems, societies, economies and climate.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                tim.doherty@sydney.edu.au
                Journal
                Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc
                Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc
                10.1111/(ISSN)1469-185X
                BRV
                Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
                Blackwell Publishing Ltd (Oxford, UK )
                1464-7931
                1469-185X
                23 March 2022
                August 2022
                : 97
                : 4 ( doiID: 10.1111/brv.v97.4 )
                : 1539-1558
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Heydon‐Laurence Building A08 The University of Sydney Sydney NSW 2006 Australia
                [ 2 ] Biodiversity Strategy and Knowledge Branch, Biodiversity Division Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 8 Nicholson Street East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
                [ 3 ] Centre for Integrative Ecology, School of Life and Environmental Sciences (Burwood Campus) Deakin University 75 Pigdons Road Waurn Ponds VIC 3216 Australia
                [ 4 ] School of Agricultural, Environmental and Veterinary Sciences Charles Sturt University Gungalman Drive Albury NSW 2640 Australia
                [ 5 ] School of Natural Sciences, G17 Macquarie University 205B Culloden Road Macquarie Park NSW 2109 Australia
                [ 6 ] Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute Texas A&M University‐Kingsville 700 University Boulevard, MSC 218 Kingsville TX 78363 U.S.A.
                [ 7 ] The Jones Center at Ichauway 3988 Jones Center Drive Newton GA 39870 U.S.A.
                [ 8 ] Laboratorio de Ecología del Paisaje y Modelación de Ecosistemas ECOLMOD, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Universidad Nacional de Colombia Edificio 421 Bogotá 111321 Colombia
                [ 9 ] Fenner School of Environment & Society The Australian National University Linnaeus Way Canberra ACT 2601 Australia
                [ 10 ] Centre for Biodiversity Conservation Science University of Queensland Level 5 Goddard Building St Lucia QLD 4072 Australia
                [ 11 ] Department of Biology Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim NO‐7491 Norway
                [ 12 ] School of Science, Technology and Engineering University of the Sunshine Coast Maroochydore DC QLD 4558 Australia
                Author notes
                [*] [* ] Address for correspondence (E‐mail: tim.doherty@ 123456sydney.edu.au )

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7745-0251
                Article
                BRV12853
                10.1111/brv.12853
                9546118
                35320881
                b71766cf-54a9-4495-b0e4-16581c5dcbeb
                © 2022 The Authors. Biological Reviews published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Cambridge Philosophical Society.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 15 March 2022
                : 04 November 2021
                : 16 March 2022
                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 0, Pages: 20, Words: 22251
                Funding
                Funded by: Australian Research Council , doi 10.13039/501100000923;
                Award ID: DE200100157
                Categories
                Original Article
                Original Articles
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                August 2022
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:6.2.0 mode:remove_FC converted:07.10.2022

                Ecology
                carnivore,foraging behaviour,hunting behaviour,interaction,landscape of fear,mega‐fire,multiple threats,predation rates,prescribed burning,wildfire

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