The impacts of past cultivation on the reptiles in a south african grassland

  • Published source details Masterson G.P.R., Maritz B., Mackay D. & Alexander G.J. (2009) The impacts of past cultivation on the reptiles in a south african grassland. African Journal of Herpetology, 58, 71-84.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create or restore grasslands

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create or restore grasslands

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2005–2006 in an area of high altitude grassland in Gauteng, South Africa (Masterson et al. 2009) found that in an area of restored grassland that was previously cultivated, reptile species richness was lower in three of four comparisons than in areas of natural grassland, but total number of reptiles caught was similar. Reptile species richness was lower in previously cultivated grassland (7 species) than in natural grassland with no rocks (13 species) or many rocks (12 species) in three of four comparisons (other comparison found no significant difference; see paper for details). Total reptile captures was similar in all three grassland habitats (previously cultivated: 31 captures; natural no rocks: 66 captures; natural with rocks: 53 captures). In 2005, a nature reserve was expanded to include three areas of previously cultivated land (18,600 ha in total). One area was last ploughed in 2000–2002; the second was last cultivated in 2002–2003; the third area was ploughed in 2005 to allow for reseeding with indigenous species (details of reseeding not provided). These areas were compared to two areas of natural grassland, one of which had an abundance of scattered rocks. In December 2005–April 2006, a total of nine groups of traps (36 m drift fence, 5 pitfall and 8 funnel traps) were set up in the three habitat types (3 groups/habitat type). Traps were checked daily and all reptiles were identified to species level and rereleased where they were caught.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

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