Use signs and access restrictions to reduce disturbance
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
The effects of summer (e.g. Moore et al. 2006) or winter (Sato et al. 2013) human recreational activity on reptiles can be negative (Larson et al. 2016). Different reptile species may tolerate different levels of disturbance, but it may lead to behaviour changes (Nyhof et al. 2015), nest abandonment (Moore et al. 2006), physical damage to reptiles or nests, or the displacement of individuals or populations. For vulnerable species or nests it may be possible to reduce the impacts of human disturbance using signs or access restrictions in areas subject to high use. Reducing access may also help reduce the risk of human introduction of non-native plants, animals or disease.
Larson C.L., Reed S.E., Merenlender A.M. & Crooks K.R. (2016) Effects of recreation on animals revealed as widespread through a global systematic review. PLoS One, 11, e0167259.
Sato C.F., Wood J.T. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2013) The effects of winter recreation on alpine and subalpine fauna: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one, 8, e64282
Nyhof P.E. & Trulio L. (2015) Basking western pond turtle response to recreational trail use in urban California. Chelonian Conservation and Biology, 14, 182–184.
Moore M.J. & Seigel R.A. (2006) No place to nest or bask: effects of human disturbance on the nesting and basking habits of yellow-blotched map turtles (Graptemys flavimaculata). Biological Conservation, 130, 386–393.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 2000 on a sandy beach in southwest Turkey (Başkale & Kaska 2005) found that sea turtle nests protected from human foot traffic using fencing and signs around individual nests tended to have higher hatching success rates than unprotected nests. Results were not statistically tested. Nests fenced for protection had 76% hatching success (667 of 880 eggs hatched, of which 653 hatchlings reached the sea) compared to 65% hatching success of unfenced nests (3,317 of 5,075 eggs hatched, of which 3,078 hatchlings reached the sea). All nests (12 nests) in a 2.5 km section of the 8 km long Fethiye Beach were fenced (70 × 70 × 150 cm with a 1 cm plastic mesh) with a sign “Do not disturb the turtle nests” in both Turkish and English to prevent human disturbance. Nests on the rest of the beach (72 nests) were unfenced. Nests were monitored from June to September 2000.Study and other actions tested