Removing forest canopy cover restores a reptile assemblage

  • Published source details Pike D.A., Webb J.K. & Shine R. (2011) Removing forest canopy cover restores a reptile assemblage. Ecological Applications, 21.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Clear or open patches in forests

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Clear or open patches in forests

    A replicated, controlled study in 2007–2009 on a plateau dominated by eucalypt forest in New South Wales, Australia (Pike et al. 2011) found that selectively removing trees on rock outcrops resulted in higher species richness of reptiles compared to overgrown outcrops with no tree removal, and increased abundance of four species, but decreased abundance for two. Species richness was higher on outcrops where trees were removed (5 species/outcrop) compared to overgrown outcrops (2 species/outcrop), and similar to outcrops that were naturally sun-exposed (5 species/outcrop). In outcrops with trees removed, the relative abundance of four of five sun-tolerant species increased, and two of two shade-tolerant species decreased (see original paper for details). In 2007, trees were selectively removed manually from 25 overgrown rock outcrops. Additionally, 30 overgrown (shady) outcrops and 20 naturally sun-exposed plots were selected that had no trees removed. Outcrops (of around 100 m2) were separated by an average of 80 m. Reptiles were sampled monthly from May 2007–October 2009, and captured reptiles were marked.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

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