Impact of wildfires on the megafauna of Emas National Park, central Brazil

Authors

  • Leandro Silveira,

  • Anah Tereza De Almeida Jácomo,

  • José Alexandre F. Diniz Filho,

  • Flávio Henrique G. Rodrigues


Abstract

This study evaluates the impact of two wildfires, in 1994 and 1995, on the large mammal fauna of Emas National Park, central Brazil. The 1994 fire burned 100 per cent of the park's grassland and after the fire, in a c. 2000-ha survey area, the authors found 16 giant anteaters Myrmecophaga tridactyla, two giant armadillos Priodontes maximus and one tapir Tapirus terrestris that had died in the fire. The 1995 fire burned 15 per cent of the park's grassland and no dead animals were found in a 220-ha survey area. The authors discuss the possible long-term ecological consequences of wildfires on the large mammal fauna of Emas, with a special focus on the giant anteater population, which is particularly susceptible to fires. They recommend a fire management programme, which would include controlled burns on a rotational basis in different sections of the park. The programme would also improve the availability of food for herbivores and control the spread of alien grass species.

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