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Fire Ecology, 2008
Volume 4, Issue 2

Truffle Abundance in Recently Prescribed Burned and Unburned Forests in Yosemite National Park: Implications for Mycophagous Mammals
Authors: Marc D. Meyer, Malcolm P. North, and Susan L. Roberts
Pages: 105-114
DOI: 10.4996/fireecology.0402105

Truffles are an important food resource for wildlife in North American forests, but decades of fire exclusion have altered the availability of this resource. In Yosemite National Park, resource management policies seek to restore essential forest processes such as fire while minimizing adverse ecological impacts that may result from burning decades of accumulated fuels. Burning can impact truffles through heat stress, elimination of soil organic layers, and damage to tree hosts, but these effects may be dependent on time lags between fires and fire frequency. We examined truffle abundance, and species diversity and composition in four paired burned and unburned sites (8 sites total) in Yosemite to determine the short-term effect of fire on truffles and its implications for truffle-consuming mammals. Burned and unburned sites had similar truffle biomass and species richness, but truffle frequency was greater in unburned than burned sites. Truffle species composition was distinctively different between burned and unburned sites, although seven species were found exclusively in both burned and unburned sites. Truffles were positively associated with litter depth in burned and unburned sites, although this association was stronger in burned sites. Prescribed burning may enhance the regional diversity of truffles for mycophagous mammals across the forest landscape without impacting total abundance in Yosemite National Park.

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