Responses of Isolated Wetland Herpetofauna to Upland Forest Management

  • Published source details Russell K.R., Hanlin H.G., Wigley T.B. & Guynn D.C. (2002) Responses of Isolated Wetland Herpetofauna to Upland Forest Management. Journal of Wildlife Management, 66, 603-617.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave woody debris in forests after logging

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Leave woody debris in forests after logging

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997–1999 in forest and wetlands in South Carolina, USA (Russell et al. 2002) found that overall abundance and richness of reptiles immigrating to wetlands were similar after clearcutting with cut debris left in place or after clearcutting with replanting compared to before management. After six and 18 months, overall richness and abundance of immigrating reptiles were statistically similar between clearcutting with debris left in place (average change in richness: 45–66% decline, abundance: 54–79% decline), clearcutting with replanting (27–59% decline, 43–70% decline) and no harvesting (28–72% decline, 51–77% decline) compared to before management was carried out. See original paper for details of groups of and individual species changes in immigration compared to before management. Pine Pinus spalustris plantations (<10 ha each) surrounding five wetlands (0.4–1.1 ha) were divided into three and managed in June 1998 by: clearcutting with residual woody debris/slash left in place, clearcutting with replanting (including mechanical site preparation prior to planting), or no harvesting. Reptile movements from the adjacent wetlands were monitored by enclosing each wetland with a drift fence, with pairs of pitfall traps placed every 10 m along the fence. Pitfalls were checked daily in June–December 1997 (pre-treatment), 1998 (6 months post-treatment) and 1999 (18 months post-treatment). Captured individuals were individually marked using toe clipping, PIT tags or shell notching.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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