Study

Paving the way for habitat restoration: can artificial rocks restore degraded habitats of endangered reptiles

  • Published source details Webb J.K. & Shine R. (2000) Paving the way for habitat restoration: can artificial rocks restore degraded habitats of endangered reptiles. Biological Conservation, 92, 93-99.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Create or restore rock outcrops

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Provide artificial shade for individuals

Action Link
Reptile Conservation
  1. Create or restore rock outcrops

    A replicated, randomized study in 1994–1995 on a sand plateau in New South Wales, Australia (Webb & Shine 2000) found that reptiles used artificial rocks (concrete pavers/paving stones) and tended to be found more often under unshaded artificial rocks with narrow crevices. Velvet geckos Oedura lesueurii used 28 unshaded pavers (45 individuals recorded) and nine shaded pavers (11 individuals recorded), of which 26 pavers were narrow-creviced (44 individuals recorded) and 12 were wide-creviced (12 individuals recorded). One skink Cryptoblepharus virgatus and one broad-headed snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides were recorded in one unshaded, narrow-creviced paver each. In November 1994–January 1995, artificial rocks (square concrete pavers: 19 cm wide, 5 cm thick) were placed in groups of four (20 cm apart in a square formation) at three undisturbed rock outcrops (sites >1 km apart, 32–52 total pavers/site). Rocks were modified with either 4 mm or 8 mm crevices (created by gluing wood to the underside of the pavers) and unshaded or shaded (90 x 50 cm steel frame covered with two layers of shade cloth; unshaded pavers had only steel frames). Surveys were attempted six times/site in April–November 1995 (18 total surveys) with reptiles marked with a toe clip. Human disturbance of artificial rocks prevented seven of 18 surveys from being carried out.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Provide artificial shade for individuals

    A replicated, randomized study in 1994–1995 on a sand plateau in New South Wales, Australia (Webb & Shine 2000) found that reptiles tended to be found less often under artificial rocks (concrete pavers/paving stones) that were artificially shaded with cloth than under unshaded artificial rocks. Velvet geckos Oedura lesueurii used shaded pavers less frequently (9 pavers used by11 individuals) than unshaded pavers (28 pavers used by 45 individuals). One skink Cryptoblepharus virgatus and one broad-headed snake Hoplocephalus bungaroides were recorded in one unshaded paver each, but were not found in unshaded pavers. In November 1994–January 1995, artificial rocks (square concrete pavers: 19 cm wide, 5 cm thick) were placed in groups of four (20 cm apart in a square formation) at three undisturbed rock outcrops (sites >1km apart, 32–52 total pavers/site). Pavers were shaded or unshaded (90 x 50 cm steel frame covered with two layers of shade cloth; unshaded pavers had only steel frames), and were modified with either 4 mm or 8 mm crevices (created by gluing wood to the underside of the pavers). Surveys were attempted six times/site in April–November 1995 (18 total surveys) with reptiles marked with a toe clip. Human disturbance of artificial rocks prevented seven of 18 surveys from being carried out.

    (Summarised by: Maggie Watson, Katie Sainsbury)

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