Effects of different burn regimes on tallgrass prairie herpetofaunal species diversity and community composition in the Flint Hills, Kansas

  • Published source details Wilgers D.J. & Horne E.A. (2006) Effects of different burn regimes on tallgrass prairie herpetofaunal species diversity and community composition in the Flint Hills, Kansas. Journal of Herpetology, 40, 73-84.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning: Grassland & shrubland

    A replicated, site comparison study 2003–2004 in six watersheds in tallgrass prairie in Kansas, USA (Wilgers & Horne 2006) found that carrying out burning more frequently did not result in differences in combined reptile and amphibian abundance, species richness or diversity. Species richness and overall abundance were similar between areas with an annual burn (5–10 species/plot; 91 individuals), a four-year burn (6 species/plot; 115 individuals) or that remained unburned for 10–20 years (5–6 species/plot; 89 individuals), though the abundance of individual species in each treatment was mixed (see paper for details). Species evenness and diversity was similar across areas with different burn regimes, although reptile communities differed, with areas with more similar burning sharing more species (all results reported as indexes). Six watersheds were selected: two with annual burns; two burned every four years; and two that were unburned for 10–20 years. Two transects were established/watershed, and each transect (75 m long) incorporated cover boards, drift fencing (Y-trap array each end of transect) and funnel traps. In spring (1 month) and autumn (1 month) 2003–2004, traps were checked daily until temperatures reached 32°C and captured species were identified and marked.

    (Summarised by: William Morgan)

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