Study

Knowledge of habitat preferences applied to habitat management: the case of an endangered tortoise population

  • Published source details Vilardell-Bartino A., Capalleras X., Budó J., Bosch R. & Pons P. (2015) Knowledge of habitat preferences applied to habitat management: the case of an endangered tortoise population. Amphibia-Reptilia, 36, 13-25.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Temporarily move reptiles away from short-term threats

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Temporarily move reptiles away from short-term threats

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 2013–2014 in abandoned vineyards, pine and oak forest in Catalonia, Spain (Vilardell-Bartino et al. 2015) found that after being temporarily removed and then returned after ground vegetation was cleared, western Hermann’s tortoises Testudo hermanni hermanni were still in the area. Six months after release following vegetation cutting, five Hermann’s tortoises had been observed in cleared plots compared to four tortoises before clearance (whether they were the same tortoises is not known) and single nests were laid in two of 50 cleared plots. Eighteen months after cutting, single nests were laid in five of 50 plots. In February 2013, fifty plots (100m2 each) at three sites were cleared of shrub cover using a brush cutter. Fifteen tortoises were removed before cutting using trained detection dogs Canis lupus familiaris and put back afterwards. Plots were monitored for tortoises once a week in March–August 2013 and checked for nests in August 2013 and 2014.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2013 in abandoned vineyards, pine and oak forest in Catalonia, Spain (Vilardell-Bartino et al. 2015) found that a specially adapted brush cutter accessory minimised tortoise cutting injuries during vegetation cutting. When an adapted brush cutter was used, no tortoise carcasses were damaged, but when a conventional brush cutter was used, the majority of tortoise carcasses sustained what would have been fatal injuries (yearlings: 40% no damage, 60% fatal wounds; juveniles: 60% serious damage, 40% fatal wounds; subadults and adults: 100% fatal wounds). In February 2013, eight plots (100m2 each) were cleared of shrub cover using either a modified brush cutter (6 plots) or conventional cutter (2 plots). One-hundred and four frozen tortoises (5 yearlings, 5 juveniles and 3 adults/plot) were randomly distributed under shrubs and the impact on tortoise carcasses was assessed immediately after cutting.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
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