Study

Grazing for bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) habitat management: case study of a New York fen

  • Published source details Travis K.B., Kiviat E., Tesauro J., Stickle L., Fadden M., Steckler V. & Lukas L. (2018) Grazing for bog turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii) habitat management: case study of a New York fen. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 13, 726-742.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Manage vegetation using livestock grazing

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using artificial nest covers: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Manage vegetation using livestock grazing

    A before-and-after study in 2009–2016 in wet meadow and marsh in New York State, USA (Travis et al. 2018) found that after grazing cattle to restore bog turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii habitat along with using artificial nest covers, more eggs were laid in more nests, hatching rates increased and more juveniles were observed. Results were not statistically tested. More bog turtle eggs were laid after grazing commenced and artificial nest covers were used (2012–2016: 15–47 eggs in 3–12 nests/year) compared to before (2009–2010: 7–8 eggs in 2–3 nests/year). After grazing started, all nests were found in areas that had been grazed in the current or previous growing season. Overall hatching success was 52% (58 of 112 eggs hatched) compared to 27% when nests were not protected and there was no grazing (4 of 15 eggs hatched). More juveniles were observed at the end of the grazing program (2016: 6 juveniles/year) compared to at the start (2012: 1 juvenile/year). In 2012–2014 and 2016, one or both of two adjacent fenced paddocks (3.6 ha total area, 1.6 ha of bog turtle habitat) were grazed by 0.6–1.4 cattle/ha for 5–21 weeks in April-October (see original paper for details) and bog turtle nests were protected by mesh-cloth artificial nest covers (12 x 12 x 12 cm). In 2009–2010, there was no grazing and bog turtle nests were not protected. Nests were located by surveying on foot in 2009–2016 (2014 data were excluded). Turtles were monitored by radio tracking and on foot observations in 2012–2016.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Protect nests and nesting sites from predation using artificial nest covers: Tortoises, terrapins, side-necked & softshell turtles

    A before-and-after study in 2008–2016 in wet meadow, marsh and fen habitat in New York, USA (Travis et al. 2018) found that when artificial nest covers were used to protect bog turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii nests in an area that was also grazed by cattle, a higher proportion of eggs hatched compared to when there was no grazing and no nest covers were used. Results were not statistically tested. In four years when bog turtle nests were protected by artificial covers in an area grazed by cattle, overall hatching success was 52% (58 of 112 eggs hatched). When nests were not protected and there was no grazing overall hatching success over two years was 27% (4 of 15 eggs hatched). The authors reported that the nest covers protected nests from larger predators such as raccoons Procyon lotor, but not from smaller, burrowing predators. In 2012–2016, bog turtle nests (3–12 nests/year, 15–47 eggs/year) in a fenced wetland being grazed by cattle (5.6 ha) were protected by mesh cloth artificial nest covers (12 x 12 x 12 cm) held in place by metal pegs. In 2014, some nests were predated before covers were put in place, so 2014 results are not included here. In 2009–2010, prior to grazing being introduced, bog turtle nests (2–3 nests/year, 7–8 eggs/year) with no nest protection were monitored. Nests were located by surveying on foot in 2009–2016.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

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