Herbaceous cover enhances the squamate reptile community in woody crops

  • Published source details Carpio A.J., Castro J., Mingo V. & Tortosa F.S. (2017) Herbaceous cover enhances the squamate reptile community in woody crops. Journal for Nature Conservation, 37, 31-38.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Diversify ground vegetation and canopy structure in the habitat around woody crops

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Diversify ground vegetation and canopy structure in the habitat around woody crops

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2014–2015 in seven olive groves in Andalusia, Spain (Carpio et al. 2017) found that olive groves with natural ground crop cover had greater reptile species richness, diversity and higher reptile counts than groves with bare ground, whereas planted crop ground cover had more reptile observations, but not richness or diversity than bare ground. Reptile observations were higher in olive groves with ground cover (natural cover: 10 individuals/site; planted cover: 8) than groves with bare ground (5). Species richness was highest in olive groves with natural ground cover (2 species/site) compared to planted ground cover (1) or bare ground (1). Species diversity was higher in natural cover crop (Shannon Index: 2) than bare ground (1), but similar to planted cover crops (1). Species diversity in planted cover crops was similar to bare ground. Reptiles were monitored in paired sites in seven olive groves: one site with ground cover (either natural herbaceous cover: 3 sites or planted single-species ground crops: 4 sites), and the other with bare ground (7 sites). Study plots were located within an olive-dominated landscape with almost no natural vegetation, either irrigated or unirrigated, and 10–100 years old. In May and July 2014–2015 reptiles were surveyed using two 1–2 km line transect censuses/site repeated on three warm sunny days. Each transect was surveyed for 30 minutes (336 total transects; 168/year).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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