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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reptile abundance and amphibian species richness was higher following certain fuel reduction treatments in Carolina, USA

Published source details

Greenberg C.H. & Waldrop T.A. (2008) Short-term response of reptiles and amphibians to prescribed fire and mechanical fuel reduction in a southern Appalachian upland hardwood forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 255, 2883-2893


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Mechanically remove mid-storey or ground vegetation Amphibian Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 2001–2004 of upland hardwood forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that mechanical understory reduction significantly increased amphibian species richness, but not abundance. Species richness was significantly higher in understory reduction plots compared to controls (6 vs 3). However, there was no significant difference in the relative abundance of total amphibians compared to controls (18 vs 17 captured/100 nights), total anurans (frogs and toads; 11 vs 10), salamanders (8 vs 4), American toads Bufo americanus (10 vs 10) or green frog Rana clamitans (2 vs 1). There were three randomly assigned replicates of treatment and control plots. Mechanical removal of shrubs was undertaken in winter 2001–2002 using chainsaws. Drift-fences with pitfall and funnel traps were used for monitoring in August–October 2001 and May–September 2002–2004.

 

Use prescribed fire or modifications to burning regime in forests Amphibian Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 2001–2004 in hardwood forest in Carolina, USA (Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that prescribed burns did not increase overall amphibian abundance or species richness, but did increase abundance of frogs and toads. The relative abundance of total amphibians, salamanders and green frog Rana clamitans did not differ significantly between treatments. However, abundances of anurans (frogs and toads) and American toads Bufo americanus were significantly higher in burn treatments compared to controls (anurans: 52–54 vs 8; American toads: 50 vs 10 captured/100 nights). Species richness did not differ significantly (burned: 5; burned with understory reduction: 5; control: 3). There were three 14 ha replicates of each randomly assigned treatment: prescribed burn, burn and mechanical understory reduction and controls. Understory reduction was undertaken in winter 2001–2002 and burns in March 2003. Drift-fences with pitfall and funnel traps were used for monitoring in August–October 2001 and May–September 2002–2004.