Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)
College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Gretchen Coffman
Dr. David Saah
Dr. Tracy Benning
Researchers, fire ecologists and wildlife managers are concerned about impact to endangered and threatened species and their critical habitat due to the projected increase in future wildfires. Wildfires have been studied in California for the last six decades and have been increasing at an alarming rate since the 1980’s. In this study, I use the 2018 spatial dataset for critical habitat of federally endangered and threatened species located in the state boundaries of California and compare it to a spatial dataset for wildfires that have occurred over the span of 32 years (1984 to 2016). Trends are derived from spatial data by using ArcGIS and Tableau software. A macroscale analysis was conducted to determine what species types are most sensitive to wildfire encroachment. Then I conducted a microscale to determine which specific endangered and threatened species are threatened by wildfire to determine which recovery plans should be reviewed. Analyses indicted that critical habitat for amphibian, bird and insect endangered or threatened species types are most sensitive to wildfire encroachment. Five specific species that are more impacted than others: Arroyo southwestern toad, California red-legged frog, California condor, coastal California gnatcatcher, and Quino checkerspot butterfly. Life traits were researched for these species and recovery plans were examined for wildfire mitigation strategies. Modifications were made based on these considerations and life traits. Results and future recommendations include specific recovery plan updates that should include wildfire mitigation strategies, research on wildfire impacts on these species, and ideas with regards to how this data can be used in the best interest of the species, ecosystem, and wildlife managers.
Butcher, Kristin, "Wildfire Exposure To Critical Habitat Of Endangered And Threatened Species In California" (2019). Master's Theses. 1322.