The effects of fire-driven succession on reptiles in spinifex grasslands at Uluru national park, Northern Territory

  • Published source details Masters P. (1996) The effects of fire-driven succession on reptiles in spinifex grasslands at Uluru national park, Northern Territory. Wildlife Research, 23, 39-47.


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 replicated, site comparison study in 1987–1990 in spinifex grasslands in the Northern Territory, Australia (Masters 1996) found that nine months to five years after prescribed burning, overall reptile species richness and abundance were lower than plots that had been burned 11–15 years earlier. Regenerating plots burned 9 months –4 years earlier had lower overall reptile abundance and species richness (abundance: 1–24 individuals/plot, richness: 1–12 species/plot) compared to mature plots burned 11–15 years earlier (4–47, 2–15). The relative abundances of species on regenerating plots changed after the first year of sampling, with terrestrial geckos becoming less common and Ctenotus species more common, whereas relative abundances of reptiles changed little in mature plots (see original paper for details of species individual and relative abundances). In 1987–1990 reptiles were surveyed 12 times (approximately every three months) in plots that had been burned in 1986 (‘regenerating’) or in 1976 (‘mature’; 3 plots/burn history). Surveys were carried out using drift fences with pitfall traps for three nights at a time (18 traps/plot).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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