Study

Restoration rocks: integrating abiotic and biotic habitat restoration to conserve threatened species and reduce fire fuel load

  • Published source details McDougall A., Milner R.N.C., Driscoll D.A. & Smith A.L. (2016) Restoration rocks: integrating abiotic and biotic habitat restoration to conserve threatened species and reduce fire fuel load. Biodiversity and Conservation, 25, 1529-1542.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create or restore grasslands

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Create or restore rock outcrops

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Manage vegetation using herbicides

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create or restore grasslands

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 in six rock and grassland areas in Australian Capital Territory, Australia (McDougall et al. 2016) found that when native grasses and rock cover were restored, Australian pink-tailed worm-lizards Aprasia parapulchella recolonised rock outcrops within one year depending on additional management. Results were not statistically tested. Pink-tailed worm-lizards recolonised restored grass and rock plots after nine months (grass and rocks restored only: 4 live lizards and 1 shed skin observed; grass and rocks restored plus prescribed fire and herbicide application: 4 live lizards; grass and rocks restored plus prescribed fire: 2 lizards). There was no evidence of lizards at unrestored sites of poor habitat quality or at sites with grass and rock restored combined with herbicide application only. Four lizards and three shed skins were observed in plots in unrestored, nearby high-quality lizard habitat. In April–May 2014, plots (4 x 4 m) in six sites (150 m apart) were managed by: native grass and rock (30% rock cover) restoration alone; grass and rock restoration with prescribed fire (using a blow torch); grass and rock restoration with herbicide application (Glyphosate, 1:100 glyphosate:water); or grass and rock restoration with prescribed fire and herbicide application. In February 2015, all plots were surveyed for lizards (live sightings and skins) including two unmanaged plots/site (one in poor, the other near high-quality lizard habitat).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Create or restore rock outcrops

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 in six rock and grassland areas in Australian Capital Territory, Australia (McDougall et al. 2016) found that when rock cover and native grasses were restored, Australian pink-tailed worm-lizards Aprasia parapulchella recolonised rock outcrops within one year, depending on additional management. Results were not statistically tested. Pink-tailed worm-lizards recolonised restored rock cover and grassed plots after nine months (rock and plants restored only: 4 live lizards and 1 shed skin observed; rock and plants restored plus prescribed fire and herbicide application: 4 live lizards; rock and plants restored plus prescribed fire: 2 lizards). There was no evidence of lizards at unrestored sites of poor habitat quality or at sites with rock and plant restored combined with herbicide application only. Four lizards and three shed skins were observed in plots in unrestored, nearby high-quality lizard habitat. In April–May 2014, plots (4 x 4 m) in six sites (150 m apart) were managed by: rock (30% rock cover) and native grass restoration alone; rock and grass restoration with prescribed fire (using a blow torch); rock and grass restoration with herbicide application (Glyphosate, 1:100 glyphosate:water); or rock and grass restoration with prescribed fire and herbicide application. In each site, two additional plots received no rock or plant restoration (one was adjacent to managed plots and the second was in nearby high-quality lizard habitat). In February 2015, all plots were surveyed for lizards (live sightings and skins) including two unmanaged plots/site (one in poor, the other near high-quality lizard habitat).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 in six rock and grassland areas in Australian Capital Territory, Australia (McDougall et al. 2016) found that after rocky outcrops were treated with prescribed burns in combination with herbicide application, some were recolonised by Australian pink-tailed worm-lizards Aprasia parapulchella within one year. Results were not statistically tested. Four worm-lizards were observed on plots treated with burning and herbicide, two on burn only plots, and zero were observed on unrestored plots. A further four worm-lizards were observed in nearby high-quality habitat (4 worm-lizards and 3 shed skins observed). In April–May 2014, plots (4 x 4 m) in six replicate sites (150 m apart) were each randomly assigned either burning and herbicide application (burned using a blow torch; one plot/site), burning only (one plot/site) or unburned (two plots/site, one adjacent to managed plots and the second in nearby high-quality lizard habitat). In February 2015, rocks were surveyed for lizards. All sightings or shed skins were recorded.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  4. Manage vegetation using herbicides

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 in six rock and grassland areas in Australian Capital Territory, Australia (McDougall et al. 2016) found that pink-tailed worm-lizards Aprasia parapulchella did not recolonise restored rocky areas replanted with grasses that were treated with herbicide, but did recolonise restored areas not treated with herbicide. When herbicide was used following native grass and rock cover restoration, pink-tailed worm-lizards did not recolonise rocks (no lizards observed), but four lizards and one lizard skin were observed in restored rock outcrops not treated with herbicide. There was no evidence of lizards in unrestored sites in poor quality habitat, but four lizards and three shed skins were observed in unrestored sites near high quality lizard habitat. In April–May 2014, plots (4 x 4 m) in six sites (150 m apart) were managed with: rock addition (30% rock cover) and native grass restoration; or rock addition and grass restoration with herbicide application (Glyphosate, 1:100 glyphosate:water). In February 2015, all plots were surveyed for lizards (live sightings and skins) including two unmanaged plots/site (one in poor, the other near high-quality lizard habitat).

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  5. Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2014–2015 in six rock and grassland areas in Australian Capital Territory, Australia (McDougall et al. 2016) found that following prescribed burns of rocky outcrops, Australian pink-tailed worm-lizards Aprasia parapulchella recolonised some rock outcrops within one year. No statistical analyses were carried out. Two worm-lizards were observed on plots that were burned compared to zero on unburned plots. A further four worm-lizards were observed in nearby high-quality habitat (4 worm-lizards and 3 shed skins observed). In April–May 2014, plots (4 x 4 m) in six replicate sites (150 m apart) were each randomly selected and burned (using a blow torch; one plot/site) or left unburned (one plot/site). A further plot at each site of high-quality habitat was also monitored. In February 2015, rocks were surveyed for lizards. All sightings of worm-lizards or shed skins were recorded.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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