Biodiv Sci ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (7): 22665.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2022665

• Original Papers: Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

How forest fires affect bird diversity over time in boreal forest interiors and edges in the Greater Khingan Mountains

Fayang Li1,2, Yingyu Li1,2, Wenni Jiang3, Shuguang Liu4, Chao Huo4, Qiaoqi Sun1,2,*(), Hongfei Zou1,2   

  1. 1. College of Wildlife and Protected Area, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin 150040
    2. Key Laboratory of National Territory Spatial Planning and Ecological Restoration in Cold Regions, Ministry of Natural Resources, Harbin 150040
    3. College of Life Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875
    4. Heilongjiang Nanwenghe National Nature Reserve Administration, Songling, Heilongjiang 165012
  • Received:2022-11-30 Accepted:2023-03-29 Online:2023-07-20 Published:2023-07-26
  • Contact: *E-mail:


Aim: Moderate/high-severity fire is highly likely to induce changes in forest structure, function, and forest succession, which further threaten bird composition and diversity. Greater Khingan Mountains is a fire-prone region, however, little is known about how forest fires influence bird diversity, particularly its functional diversity.

Methods We used the point counts approach to survey birds and quantified changes in bird community structure and functional diversity after several fires had occurred at both forest interiors and edges in the Heilongjiang Nanwenghe National Nature Reserve from July to August 2021. Furthermore, a systematic literature review was conducted to investigate the relationship between forest composition and bird functional diversity in the Greater Khingan Mountains.

Results: The results showed (1) the difference in bird community composition was small in the forest interiors, but was great at forest edges, with different fire severity histories; (2) the functional richness and evenness of birds in the forest interiors gradually increased with the increased recovery time since the fire, and bird functional richness was greatest at the forest edges in the early stages of the post-fire disturbance; (3) over time since the post-fire recovery, the proportion of resident birds increased, but the proportion of summer migratory birds decreased at the forest edges; (4) bird functional richness was significantly higher in the mixed coniferous forests compared to the larch dominant forests in the Greater Khingan Mountains region.

Conclusions: This study suggests that maintaining the structural stability in forest interiors and enhancing plant diversity at the forest edges in the early stages of the post-fire are beneficial for maintaining high bird functional richness and evenness in the boreal forests.

Key words: bird community, Greater Khingan Mountains, fire disturbance, forest succession, functional diversity