Reptile and amphibian response to season of burn in an upland hardwood forest

  • Published source details Greenberg C.H., Seiboldt T., Keyser T.L., McNab W.H., Scott P., Bush J. & Moorman C.E. (2018) Reptile and amphibian response to season of burn in an upland hardwood forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 409, 808-816.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2013–2016 in one oak-dominated forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg et al. 2018) found that reptile species richness did not change after prescribed burning, but that capture rates were higher and decreased over time after growing-season, but not after dormant-season prescribed burning. Reptile species richness did not change over time following dormant-season or growing-season burns, or in unburned plots (data reported as model results). Reptile capture rates were highest in the year of growing-season burns (8 individuals/100 array nights; 1–3 years later: 3–6 individuals/100 array nights), but did not change after dormant-season burns (1 individuals/100 array nights; 1–2 years later: 1–2 individuals/100 array nights) or in unburned areas (1–2 individuals/100 array nights). There was no difference in overall lizard or overall snake capture rates between burned (growing season and dormant season) and unburned plots over time. See original paper for species-specific capture rates. The authors reported that growing-season burns cleared more canopy cover than dormant-season burns, which may have contributed to elevated reptile captures in growing-season burned plots compared to unburned plots. Nine plots (4–7 ha) in a National Forest were either prescribed burned in the growing season (April 2013), dormant season (March 2014), or not burned (three plots/approach). Reptiles were surveyed using drift fences with pitfall traps ('arrays') May–August 2013–2016 (2–3 arrays/plot, dormant-season burn plots only surveyed in 2014–2016).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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