Graduation Date

Spring 2024

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Wildlife

Committee Chair Name

Ho Yi Wan

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Micaela Szykman Gunther

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Katie Moriarty

Third Committee Member Affiliation

Community Member or Outside Professional


Marten, Fisher, Carnivore, Rodent, Small mammal, Wildfire, Occupancy, Dixie Fire, Lassen, Plumas, Scale optimization, Fire, Northern California, Wildlife, Coyote, Management

Subject Categories



The consumption of an astounding one million acres resulted from California’s largest single fire to date, the 2021 Dixie Fire. The social and economic losses associated with the fire were immediately apparent, but the effects on wildlife remained unknown. While previous research has suggested mixed or low severity fire may be beneficial to certain wildlife species, the responses to megafires are poorly understood for many carnivores. To better understand these responses to severe fire, I used a random sampling design stratified by burn severity to survey in and around the Dixie Fire footprint using baited camera stations. This allowed me to determine the persistence of mesocarnivores of conservation concern including Pacific marten (Martes caurina) and fisher (Pekania pennanti) in a post-fire landscape. I estimated occupancy at multiple scales using metrics related to burn severity, post-fire forest structure, and prey availability. With increasing levels of burn severity, I found that Pacific marten occupancy increased, and fisher occupancy decreased. Pacific marten may be using burned forest for hunting, as mouse/vole (Peromyscus/Microtus/Myodes spp.) species also had a positive relationship with burn severity. Predators and competitors persisted in the burned areas, and coyotes (Canis latrans) had a strong positive relationship with burn severity. My results provide insight into how a carnivore community responds to high severity fire and are applicable to regions worldwide that are experiencing a shifting fire paradigm. I equip land managers with forest volumetric information correlated with occurrence data that can inform restoration in large wildfires to benefit carnivore communities.

Citation Style

Journal of Wildlife Management


Thesis/Project Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.