Study

Response of six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata) to habitat restoration in fire-suppressed longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) sandhills

  • Published source details Steen D.A., Smith L.L., Morris G., Mike Conner L., Litt A.R., Pokswinski S. & Guyer C. (2013) Response of six-lined racerunner (Aspidoscelis sexlineata) to habitat restoration in fire-suppressed longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) sandhills. Restoration Ecology, 21, 457-463.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 1995–2010 in fire-suppressed longleaf pine Pinus palustris forests in Florida, USA (Steen, Smith, Morris et al. 2013, same experimental set-up as Steen, Smith, Conner et al. 2013) found that areas where herbicide was applied prior to regular burning had similar numbers of six-lined racerunners Aspidoscelis sexlineatus compared to unburned areas and fewer than areas of pristine habitat, whereas burn only sites had similar numbers to areas of pristine habitat. Six-lined racerunner abundances were lower in sites treated with herbicide followed by burning (adults: 14 individuals/site; juveniles:  4) and unburned and no herbicide sites (13, 2) compared to burn-only sites (23, 10) or more pristine areas with a history of fires (38, 10). After a further 10–12 years of prescribed burns on all sites, six-lined racerunner abundances were similar in sites managed initially by burning (adult: 40 individuals/site; juvenile: 7), herbicide followed by burning (33, 6) unburned and no herbicide (30, 6) and pristine sites with a history of fires (37, 10). Reptiles were monitored in six sites each (81 ha each) managed by: prescribed burning (April–June 1995, 6 sites), herbicides (May 1995, 6 sites) followed by burning (1997), or unburned with no herbicide until after 1999 when all sites were burned at 2–3-year intervals. Reptiles were also monitored at a further six sites in a more pristine area with a history of fires. Reptiles were surveyed using drift fences with pitfall traps (16 traps/site) in April–August 1997–1998 and May– September 2009–2010. 

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 1995–2010 in fire-suppressed longleaf pine Pinus palustris forests in Florida, USA (Steen, Smith, Morris et al. 2013, same experimental set-up as Steen, Smith, Conner et al. 2013) found that areas where vegetation was cut followed by burning had similar numbers of six-lined racerunners Aspidoscelis sextineatus compared to burn only and pristine habitat areas, whereas unburned areas had fewer than pristine areas. Areas with vegetation cutting followed by burning had similar numbers of six-lined racerunner (adults: 24; juveniles: 5) as burn only areas (23, 10) and areas of more pristine habitat (38, 10), whereas unburned areas had fewer than pristine areas (13, 2). After a further 10–12 years of prescribed burns on all sites, six-lined racerunner abundances were similar in sites managed initially by vegetation cutting and burning (adults: 28 individuals/site; juveniles: 10), burning (40. 7), unburned sites (30, 6) and areas of pristine habitat (37, 10). Reptiles were monitored in six sites each (81 ha each) managed by: vegetation cutting (felling and girdling in June–November 1995, 6 sites) with burning (1997), prescribed burning (April–June 1995, 6 sites) or unmanaged until after 1999 when all sites were burned at 2–3-year intervals. Reptiles were also monitored at a further six sites in an area without historical fire suppression. Reptiles were surveyed using drift fences with pitfall traps (16 traps/site) in April–August 1997–1998 and May–September 2009–2010.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after study in 1995–2010 in fire-suppressed longleaf pine Pinus palustris forests in Florida, USA (Steen, Smith, Morris et al. 2013, same experimental set-up as Steen, Smith, Conner et al. 2013) found that areas with prescribed burning had similar six-lined racerunner Aspidoscelis sextineatus abundance compared to pristine areas, whereas unburned areas had fewer. In the first two years, six-lined racerunner abundances were similar in burned areas (adults: 23 individuals/site; juveniles: 10) and more pristine areas with a history of frequent fires (adults: 38, juveniles: 10), and higher than in unburned areas (adults: 13, juveniles: 2). After 15 years, when all sites were regularly burned, six-lined racerunner abundances were similar in sites that had been previously burned (adult: 40 individuals/site; juvenile: 7), unburned (30, 6) or in more pristine areas with a history of frequent fires (37, 10). Reptiles were monitored in six plots (81 ha) each that were burned (April–June 1995, 6 plots) or unburned (6 plots) until after 1999 when all plots were burned at 2–3-year intervals. Reptiles were also monitored in a further six plots in more pristine areas with a history of frequent fires that was considered to be the target condition of restoration efforts. Reptiles were surveyed using drift fences with pitfall traps (16 traps/site) in April–August 1997–1998 and May– September 2009–2010.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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