Most grassland animals are not harmed by fire, particularly if fires occur during the dormant season. Those animals living belowground are well protected, and most grassland birds and mammals are mobile enough to avoid direct contact with fire. For example, there were few differences in the kinds and abundances of ground-dwelling beetles in frequently and infrequently burned Kansas tallgrass prairie. Insects that live in and on the stems and leaves of the plants are the ones that are most affected by fire. Fire has been shown to reduce directly the abundance of caterpillars which means fewer butterflies, which are important pollinators, in frequently burned prairies. Fortunately, most natural fires are patchy in that many unburned areas remain throughout a larger burned area. These patches serve as refugia for many insect populations. Given that these animals have short generation times these refugia often allow insect populations to recover quickly following a fire.
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