Study

Herpetofaunal responses to restoration treatments of longleaf pine sandhills in Florida

  • Published source details Litt A.R., Provencher L., Tanner G.W. & Franz R. (2001) Herpetofaunal responses to restoration treatments of longleaf pine sandhills in Florida. Restoration Ecology, 9, 462-474.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use herbicides to control mid-storey or ground vegetation

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation

Use prescribed burning: Forest, open woodland & savanna

Action Link
Reptile Conservation

Use prescribed fire or modifications to burning regime in forests

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Use prescribed burning in combination with herbicide application

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997–1998 of pine sandhills in Florida, USA (Litt et al. 2001) found that burning in combination with herbicide had mixed effects depending on species and year. In one of two burn years, capture rates of six-lined racerunners Cnemidophorus sexlineatus and eastern fence lizards Sceloporus undulatus were lower in plots with burning and herbicide (six-lined racerunners: 0.016 captures/trap days; eastern fence lizards: 0.003) than in burn-only plots (racerunners: 0.037; fence lizards: 0.007), but higher than in unburned plots with no herbicide (racerunners: 0.015; fence lizards: 0.002). In the other year, captures were similar all three treatments (racerunners: 0.011–0.017; fence lizards: 0.001–0.006). In one of two years southeastern crowned snake Tantilla coronata captures were lower in burning with herbicide and burning only plots (0.004–0.005) compared to plots with no burning or herbicide (0.014), but in the other year captures were similar (0.011–0.020). Green anoles Anolis carolinensis were not caught in burning and herbicide plots and were caught a similar amount in burn only and no burning or herbicide plots (0.003). Little brown skink Scincella lateralis captures were similar across all treatments (0.001–0.005).  Treatments (burning with herbicide or burn only) were randomly assigned to 81 ha plots within four replicate blocks. Burn-only treatments were carried out in spring 1995. Herbicide treatments were carried out in 1995 and were then burned in March–April 1997. Data were also collected from four frequently-burned reference sites. Monitoring was undertaken using drift-fencing and pitfall traps in April–August 1997–1998.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  2. Use prescribed burning in combination with vegetation cutting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997–1998 of pine sandhills in Florida, USA (Litt et al. 2001) found that using prescribed burning in combination with tree felling/girdling had mixed effects depending on species and year. In one of two burn years, capture rates of six-lined racerunners Cnemidophorus sexlineatus and eastern fence lizards Sceloporus undulatus were lower in plots with burning and tree felling (racerunners: 0.031 captures/trap days; fence lizards: 0.003) than in burn-only plots (racerunners: 0.037; fence lizards: 0.007), but were higher than in plots with no cutting or burning (racerunners: 0.015; fence lizards: 0.002). Southeastern crowned snake Tantilla coronata capture rates were similar in felling and burning plots compared to burn only plots in both years (0.004–0.007 and 0.011–0.024), but lower than plots with no burning or felling in one year (felling and burning: 0.007; no felling or burning: 0.014) but not the other (felling and burning: 0.024; no felling or burning: 0.019). Green anoles Anolis carolinensis were not caught in burning and felling plots and were caught a similar amount in burn only and no burning or felling plots (0.003). Little brown skink Scincella lateralis captures were similar across all treatments (0.002–0.005). Treatments (burning with tree felling/girdling or burn only) were randomly assigned to 81 ha plots within four replicate blocks. Burn-only and felling/girdling treatments were carried out in spring 1995. Felling/girdling plots were subsequently burned in March–April 1997. Monitoring was undertaken using drift-fencing and pitfall traps in April–August 1997–1998.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  3. Use herbicides to control mid-storey or ground vegetation

    A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 1997–1998 of pine sandhills in Florida, USA (Litt et al. 2001) found that understory removal using herbicide did not result in increased abundance of amphibians. In 1998, capture rates were significantly lower in understory removal plots and prescribed burning plots than fire suppressed (control) plots for southern toad Bufo terrestris (herbicide: 0.002; burn: 0; no burn: 0.008; reference: 0.003 captures/trap days). However, capture rates did not differ between understory removal, burned or fire suppressed treatments for oak toad Bufo quercicus or eastern narrowmouthed toad Gastrophryne carolinensis in 1998, or any species in 1997. In 1997 (not 1998), herpetofauna similarity indices indicated that burned plots were significantly more similar to reference (frequently burned) sites than understory removal or fire-suppressed plots (burn: 0.76; herbicide: 0.49; no burn: 0.49). Treatments were in randomly assigned 81 ha plots within four replicate blocks in spring 1997. Data were also collected from four frequently burned reference sites. Monitoring was undertaken using drift-fencing and pitfall traps in April–August 1997–1998.

     

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

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1997–1998 of pine sandhills in Florida, USA (Litt et al. 2001) found that prescribed burning had mixed effects depending on species and year. In one of two burn years, capture rates of six-lined racerunners Cnemidophorus sexlineatus and eastern fence lizards Sceloporus undulatus were higher in burned compared to fire-suppressed plots (burned: 0.007–0.037 captures/trap days; fire suppressed: 0.002–0.015) and southeastern crowned snake Tantilla coronata capture rates were lower in burned than in fire suppressed plots (burned: 0.004; fire suppressed: 0.014 captures/trap days). Green anole Anolis carolinensis were captured at similar numbers in burned and fire suppressed plots (0.003 captures/trap days in 1998 for both treatments). Plots (81 ha) were randomly selected for burning (4 plots) or continued fire-suppression (4 plots) and burning took place in spring 1995. Monitoring was undertaken using drift-fencing and pitfall traps in April–August 1997–1998.

    (Summarised by: Katie Sainsbury)

  5. Use prescribed fire or modifications to burning regime in forests

    A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 1997–1998 of pine sandhills in Florida, USA (Litt et al. 2001) found that prescribed burning resulted in similar or lower abundance of amphibians compared to unburned sites. In 1997 there was no significant difference between treatments for any species. In 1998, capture rates were significantly lower in prescribed burn plots and herbicide understory removal plots than fire suppressed (control) plots for southern toad Bufo terrestris (burn: 0; understory: 0.002; no burn: 0.008; reference: 0.003 captures/trap days). Capture rates did not differ between burned, understory removal or fire suppressed treatments for oak toad Bufo quercicus or eastern narrowmouthed toad Gastrophryne carolinensis. In 1997 (not 1998), similarity indices indicated that burned plots were significantly more similar to reference (frequently burned) sites than understory removal or fire suppressed plots (burn: 0.76; understory: 0.49; no burn: 0.49). Treatments were in randomly assigned 81 ha plots within four replicate blocks in spring 1997. Data were also collected from four frequently burned reference sites. Monitoring was with drift-fencing and pitfall traps in April–August 1997–1998.

     

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