Conservation potential of prescribed fire for maintaining habitats and populations of an endangered rattlesnake Sistrurus c. catenatus

  • Published source details Dovčiak M., Osborne P.A., Patrick D.A. & Gibbs J.P. (2014) Conservation potential of prescribed fire for maintaining habitats and populations of an endangered rattlesnake Sistrurus c. catenatus. Endangered Species Research, 22, 51-60.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

    A controlled, before-and-after study in 2006 and 2010 in two abandoned agricultural fields in New York State, USA (Dovčiak et al. 2014) found that prescribed burning increased the numbers of eastern massasauga rattlesnakes Sistrurus catenatus catenatus observed compared to before the fire and in an unburned area. After prescribed burning, eastern massasauga rattlesnakes were observed 27 times compared to no observations prior to burning and no observations in an unburned site over the same time period. The authors reported that rattlesnake occurrence was related to open habitats with low cover of leafy, non-woody plants (forbs) created by fire (see original paper for details). The study took place in two abandoned agricultural fields (disused for 15–20 years), one of which was burned in April 2010. Snakes were monitored using coverboards (in a 5 x 5 grid) per field before burning in 2006 and after burning in June–August 2010.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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