Study

Long-term herpetofaunal response to repeated fuel reduction treatments

  • Published source details Greenberg C.H., Moorman C.E., Matthews-Snoberger C.E., Waldrop T.A., Simon D., Heh A. & Hagan D. (2018) Long-term herpetofaunal response to repeated fuel reduction treatments. Journal of Wildlife Management, 82, 553-565.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2016 in upland forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg et al. 2018; same experimental set-up as Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that cutting vegetation did not increase overall reptile species richness or the abundance of different species compared to areas with no cutting. Overall reptile species richness was similar in areas with vegetation cutting and in areas with no cutting (data reported as statistical model outputs, see original paper for details). Eastern fence lizard Sceloporus undulatus and five-lined skink Plestiodon fasciatus abundance was similar in cut (1–3 individuals/100 trapping nights) and uncut (0–2 individuals/100 trapping nights) plots, and all other reptile species were excluded from analysis due to small sample sizes (20 species total, see paper for details). Three similar study sites were selected within a 5,841ha mixed oak-hickory forest. Within each site, one plot each (10 ha core areas with 20 m wide buffers) was managed by cutting understorey vegetation (in winters 2001–2002 and 2011–2012) or was left uncut. Reptiles were surveyed after management using drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps (‘arrays’) in May–August of 2003–2004, 2006–2007, and 2014–2016 (158–341 array nights/plot/year).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2016 in upland forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg et al. 2018, same experimental set-up as Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that prescribed burning combined with mechanical understory removal did not increase overall species richness compared to burning alone or no management, but that two lizard species abundances were greater after prescribed burning with mechanical removal compared to no management. Overall reptile species richness was similar between prescribed burning with mechanical removal, prescribed burning only, mechanical removal only, and unmanaged forest (data reported as model outputs). In 2016, five-lined skink Plestiodon fasciatus and eastern fence lizard Sceloporus undulatus capture rates were greater after burning with mechanical removal, but not burning or mechanical removal alone, than in unmanaged forest (skink - burning with mechanical: 4 skinks/100 array nights, burning only: 2.8, mechanical only: 1.6, no management: 1.6; lizard - burning plus mechanical: 5.3 lizards/100 array nights, burning only: 3.6, mechanical only: 2.4, no management: 0.5). Three study sites were selected within a 5,841 ha mixed oak-hickory forest. Within each site, experimental plots (10 ha core areas with 20 m wide buffers) were managed as follows: prescribed burning only (2003, 2006, 2012, 2015); mechanical understory removal (in winters 2001–2002 and 2011–2012); mechanical understory removal (winter 2001–2002) followed by prescribed burning (2003, 2006, 2012, 2015) and unmanaged. Reptiles were surveyed after management using drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps (‘arrays’) in May – August of 2003–2004, 2006–2007, 2014 and 2015–2016 (158–341 array nights/plot/year).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2001–2016 in upland forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg et al. 2018, same experimental set-up as Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that burned areas had similar overall species richness and individual species abundance compared to unburned areas. Overall reptile species richness was similar between prescribed burning and unburned forest (data reported as model outputs). In 2016, five-lined skink Plestiodon fasciatus and eastern fence lizard Sceloporus undulatus capture rates were similar in burned and unburned areas (skink - burning: 2.8 skinks/100 trap group nights; unburned: 1.6; lizard - burning: 3.6; unburned: 0.5). Three study sites were selected within a 5,840 ha mixed oak-hickory forest. Within each site, experimental plots (10 ha core areas with 20 m wide buffers) were burned (2003, 2006, 2012, 2015) or left unburned. Reptiles were surveyed after burns using drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps in May – August of 2003–2004, 2006–2007, 2014 and 2015–2016 (158–341 trap group nights/plot/year).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

Output references
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