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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Controlled burns resulted in higher species diversity and abundance of reptiles and amphibians in Florida, USA

Published source details

Mushinsky H.R. (1985) Fire and the Florida sandhill herpetofaunal community: with special attention to responses of Cnemidophorus sexlineatus. Herpetologica, 41, 333–342

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

A controlled, site comparison study in 1982–1983 of sandhill-scrub habitat in west central Florida, USA (Mushinsky 1985) found that controlled burns resulted in higher species diversity and abundance of amphibians. The 7-year burn cycle plot had the greatest number of species in both years (7-year cycle: 16–20; 2-year: 10–15; 1-year: 14–16; unburned: 10–15). Although burn plots had a greater fluctuations in species diversity over the two years than the unburned plot, numbers of captures were higher. Captures tended to be highest in 7- and 1-year burn plots (7 years: 115–307; 2 years: 102–187; 1 year: 126–203; unburned: 71–125). The 1-year cycle was most consistent for supporting high numbers of individuals and species. A 1 ha plot was established for each burn cycle in adjacent strips. These were compared to a plot unburned for 20 years. Burns were in May–June. Five drift-fence arrays with pitfall traps and an artificial cover board were established/plot. Traps were checked 5–6 times/week in April–October 1983–1984.