Short-term response of herpetofauna to various burning regimes in the South Texas plains

  • Published source details Ruthven D.C., Kazmaier R.T. & Janis M.W. (2008) Short-term response of herpetofauna to various burning regimes in the South Texas plains. The Southwestern Naturalist, 53.


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, randomized, controlled study in 1997–2001 in shrub and grassland in southern Texas, USA (Ruthven et al. 2008) found neither dormant (winter) season nor growing (summer) season prescribed burns affected the abundance of lizards or snakes in subsequent years. In the 2–3 years after dormant-season and growing-season prescribed burns, abundances of lizards and snakes in burned plots (dormant-season: 0.4–1.1 lizards/trap array/day, 0.1–0.3 snakes/trap array/day; growing-season: 18.2–19.8 lizards/trap array/day, 2.4–4.0 snakes/trap array/day) were similar to unburned plots (dormant-season: 0.8–1.4 lizards/trap array/day, 0.1–0.2 snakes/trap array/day; growing season: 13.6–14.8 lizards/trap array/day, 1.0–2.2 snakes/trap array/day). Dormant-season (December–February 1997–1998, 1999–2000) and growing-season (August 1999) prescribed burns were carried out in 2 ha plots (dormant: 3 plots, growing: 5) in a 15,200 acre study area. Reptiles were monitored using drift fences with pitfall traps (‘arrays’, dormant: 3 arrays/plot, growing: 1 array/plot). Dormant-season plots were monitored for 7–21 days each in May–August 1998–2000. Growing-season plots were monitored for 14 days each in May–September 2000–2001. Equivalent numbers of unburned plots were monitored at the same time. Prior to 1997, dormant-season plots had not been burned for ≥40 years. Growing-season plots had been prescribed burned in January–March 1997.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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