Raise mowing height
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Vegetation height is important in determining the value of cropland and grassland to wildlife. High vegetation can provide more complex environments and more habitats, while short vegetation may increase the risk of predation. Cutting of crops or pasture can kill or maim reptiles causing mutilations, crushing, and other lethal injuries. It is possible that mortalities and injuries could be reduced by raising the height of cutting machinery above the soil (Saumure et al. 2007).
Saumure, R.A., Herman, T.B., & Titman, R.D. (2007) Effects of haying and agricultural practices on a declining species: The North American wood turtle Glyptemys insculpta. Biological Conservation, 135, 565–575.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, site comparison study in 2014 in mixed crop and pastureland in south-eastern Australia (Kay et al. 2016) found that marbled geckos Christinus marmoratus did not navigate directly towards trees in tall-sward pastures, but did in shorter sward pasture. In long native or exotic pastures or in wheat Triticum vulgare or canola Brassica napus crops, marbled geckos did not orient directly towards a target tree, but did in short native or exotic pasture (results reported as statistical model outputs, see original paper for details). Individual wild arboreal geckos were released into fields with an isolated tree surrounded by different pasture or crop fields and direction of travel was recorded. The field types included long (average sward height >20 cm) and short (average sward height <10 cm) pastures dominated by either native or exotic plants, or one of two cereal crops (wheat or canola; 6 total field types). Lizards were released in three fields/type (>2 km apart; 18 total fields). Geckos were caught from the same landscape but >5 km away from the study site. Individual animals were marked with fluorescent powder and tracked for 6 hours after release.Study and other actions tested