For the Birds: The Effects of Wildfire on Bird Diversity In Rocky Mountain National Park

Brugger, Luke James [Browse]
Senior thesis
58 pages


Pacala, Stephen [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
Wildfire plays a large role in the ecology of Rocky Mountain National Park. As threats of wildfire have increased over the past decades, it is important to understand how both wildfire and prescribed burning influence the species within the park. In my study I wanted to see how wildfire and the prescribed burning program in Rocky Mountain National Park influence bird bird diversity. The results show that 5 species had statistically significant correlations with wildfire and 10 species had significant correlations with prescribed burning. 5 species in the study were only observed in non-burned areas, 6 of the species were only observed in prescribed burn areas, and 9 of the species were only observed areas affected by wildfire. On a broader level I was able to show that an ideal environment for Rocky Mountain National Park’s bird diversity is one that is made of of a variety of burned and non-burned forests of all varieties. Overall, the key to bird species diversity within the park is a heterogeneous environment, but one in which prescribed burning should not play a large role.

Supplementary Information