Study

Experimental management of nesting habitat for the Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blanditigii)

  • Published source details Dowling Z., Hartwig T., Kiviat E. & Keesing F. (2010) Experimental management of nesting habitat for the Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blanditigii). Ecological Restoration, 28, 154-159.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Disturb soil/sediment surface

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Manage vegetation by hand (selective weeding)

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Disturb soil/sediment surface

    A randomized study in 2006 and 2008 in wetlands in New York, USA (Dowling et al. 2010) found that female Blanding’s turtles Emydoidea blandingii preferred nesting in plots where soil was disturbed by tilling compared to weeded or mown plots. In 2006, nine of 10 monitored female turtles nested, of which seven nested in tilled plots and two in mowed plots. In 2008, six turtles nested, of which four nested in tilled plots, one in a weeded plot and one off the treatment plots. Two turtles nested in the same physical plot each year, in spite of a change in management. In 2006, thread trailing revealed that all female turtles explored or had been placed on each plot type before choosing where to nest. Eight sites around the edge of a fenced 12 ha wetland were monitored for turtle nesting activity. Each site contained three plots (5 x 7 m) with one of three managements randomly applied in 2006 and 2008: tilled to a depth of 15 cm (24 total plots), mowed to 5 cm height or 90% hand-weeded. Nesting activity was monitored by visual searches and radio tracking or by attaching a bobbin and thread to female turtles in May and June 2006 and 2008 (10 total turtles monitored). 

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Manage vegetation by hand (selective weeding)

    A randomized study in 2006–2008 in wetlands in New York, USA (Dowling et al. 2010) found that female Blanding’s turtle Emydoidea blandingii used weeded plots less frequently than tilled plots for nesting. Overall, fewer turtles nested in weeded plots (1 turtle in 2008) than in tilled plots (7 turtles in 2006; 5 turtles in 2008). In 2006, nine of 10 monitored female turtles nested, and in 2008, six turtles nested. Two turtles nested in the same physical plot each year, in spite of a change in management.  In 2006, thread trailing revealed that all female turtles explored or had been placed on each plot type before choosing where to nest. Eight sites around the edge of a fenced 12 ha wetland were monitored for turtle nesting activity. Two plots (5 x 7 m each) were established at each site, and one/site was either hand weeded (90% of vegetation removed) or tilled to a depth of 15 cm (treatment randomly applied in 2006 and 2008). Nesting activity was monitored by visual searches and radio tracking or by attaching a bobbin and thread to female turtles in May and June 2006 and 2008 (10 turtles monitored in total).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

    A randomized study in 2006–2008 in wetlands in New York, USA (Dowling et al. 2012) found fewer female Blanding’s turtle Emydoidea blandingii nested in mown plots than in tilled plots. Overall, fewer turtles nested in mowed plots (two turtles in 2006) that in tilled plots (7 turtles in 2006; 5 turtles in 2008). In 2006, nine of 10 monitored female turtles nested, and in 2008, six turtles nested. Two turtles nested in the same physical plot each year, in spite of a change in management. In 2006, thread trailing revealed that all female turtles explored or had been placed on each plot type before choosing where to nest. Eight sites around the edge of a fenced 12 ha wetland were monitored for turtle nesting activity. Two plots (5 x 7 m each) were established at each site, and one/site was either mowed to 5 cm height or tilled to a depth of 15 cm (treatment randomly applied in 2006 and 2008). Nesting activity was monitored by visual searches and radio tracking or by attaching a bobbin and thread to female turtles in May and June 2006 and 2008 (10 turtles monitored in total).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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