Study

Response of reptiles and amphibians to repeated fuel reduction treatments

  • Published source details Matthews C.E., Moorman C.E., Greenberg C.H. & Waldrop T.A. (2010) Response of reptiles and amphibians to repeated fuel reduction treatments. Journal of Wildlife Management, 74, 1301-1310.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Thin trees within forests

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

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. Thin trees within forests

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2006–2007 in hardwood forests in North Carolina, USA (Matthews et al. 2010) found that overall reptile species richness and capture rates were similar in areas with tree thinning compared to unmanaged areas. Overall reptile richness and overall reptile, snake and turtle captures were similar after thinning by mechanical cutting (richness: 6–7 species/100 array nights, overall captures: 6 individuals/100 array nights, snakes: 1–2 individuals/100 array nights, turtles: 0 individuals/100 array nights) and no management (richness:6, overall captures: 7, snakes: 3–5, turtles: 0). Three plots each (10 ha) were managed with mechanical-cutting (using chainsaws to cut trees and understory, 2001–2002) or not managed. Reptiles were surveyed in May–August 2006 and 2007 using drift fences with pitfall traps (‘arrays’, 3/site).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Manage vegetation by cutting or mowing

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2006–2007 in hardwood forests in North Carolina, USA (Matthews et al. 2010) found overall reptile species richness and capture rates were similar in areas with vegetation cutting compared to areas with no cutting. Overall reptile richness and overall reptile, snake, lizard and turtle captures were similar after vegetation cutting (richness: 6–7 species/100 trapping nights, overall captures: 6 individuals/100 trapping nights, snakes: 1–2 individuals/100 trapping nights, lizards: 4–5 individuals/100 trapping nights, turtles: 0 individuals/100 trapping nights) and no cutting (richness: 6 species, overall captures: 7–7 individuals, snakes: 3–5 individuals, lizards: 4 individuals, turtles: 0 individuals).  Three blocks of four sets of 10 ha sites were either managed by cutting vegetation (using chainsaws to cut trees and understory, 2001–2002) or were left uncut. Reptiles were surveyed in May–August 2006 and 2007 using a group of drift fences with pitfall traps (3 groups/site).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2006–2007 in hardwood forests in North Carolina, USA (Matthews et al. 2010) found overall reptile species richness and capture rates were similar after burning combined with mechanical vegetation cutting or burning or cutting alone, but that lizard capture rates were mostly higher after mechanical-cutting with burning compared to other management options. Overall reptile richness and overall reptile, snake and turtle captures were similar after burning with mechanical-cutting (richness: 5–8 species/100 array nights, overall captures: 12–13 individuals/100 array nights; snakes: 2 individuals/100 array nights; turtles: 0 individuals/100 array nights), twice-burning (4–7, 7–9, 2–7, 0–1), mechanical-cutting only (6–7, 6, 1–2, 0), and no management (6, 7–7, 3–5, 0). Lizard captures were higher after burning with mechanical-cutting (11 individuals/100 array nights) compared to twice-burning (3–5) or no management (4). In the first monitoring year, lizard captures were higher after burning with mechanical-cutting than mechanical-cutting only (4 individuals/100 array nights) but were statistically similar in the second year of monitoring (burning with cutting: 11; cutting only: 5). Three blocks of four sets of 10 ha sites were managed with mechanical-cutting followed by twice-burning, mechanical-cutting (using chainsaws to cut trees and understory, 2001–2002), twice-burning (in March 2003 and February 2006) or no management. Reptiles were surveyed in May – August 2006 and 2007 using drift fences with pitfall traps (‘arrays’, 3/site).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2006–2007 in hardwood forests in North Carolina, USA (Matthews et al. 2010) found that burned areas had similar overall reptile species richness and capture rates compared to unburned areas. Overall reptile richness and overall reptile, snake and turtle captures were similar in burned areas (richness: 4–7 species/100 array nights, overall captures: 7–9 individuals/100 array nights, snakes: 2–7 individuals/100 array nights, turtle: 0–1 individuals/100 array nights), and unburned areas (6, 7–7, 3–5, 0). Three sites (10 ha) each were managed by twice-burning (in March 2003 and February 2006) or received no management (‘unburned’). Reptiles were surveyed in May – August 2006 and 2007 using drift fences with pitfall traps (‘arrays’, 3/site).

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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