Forest management bolsters native snake populations in urban parks

  • Published source details Bonnet X., Lecq S., Lassay J.L., Ballouard J.M., Barbraud C., Souchet J., Mullin S.J. & Provost G. (2016) Forest management bolsters native snake populations in urban parks. Biological Conservation, 193, 1-8.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Clear or open patches in forests

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Clear or open patches in forests

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2006–2012 in mixed forest near Le Mans, France (Bonnet et al. 2016) found that after cutting trees to open the canopy, Asper vipers Vipera aspis were more likely to occupy areas with open than closed canopy habitats. Opening up the forest canopy caused an increase in the likelihood of viper occupancy (78%) compared to beforehand (34%). Overall, open forest was more likely to be occupied by snakes regardless of management (recently cut open canopy: 78%, open canopy maintained: 78%, open canopy cut 5–7 years ago: 69%) than closed canopy, unmanaged forest (9%). In winter 2006–2008, canopy cover was opened on four transects running alongside pre-existing public paths (5–10 m wide x 3,700 m long/transect by end 2008). In 2008–2012, transect segments were managed by: shrubs maintained at <2 m high (1,665 m total length); shrubs not managed (555 m); opening up more canopy (925 m); and unmanaged, mature forest with no historical cutting (555 m). Snakes were monitored using cover boards placed every 10–50 m along transect segments (76–202 boards/year). Boards were checked in April–September in 2006–2012 (23–86 survey days/year).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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