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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Experimental habitat restoration for conserved species using ecosystem engineers and vegetation management

Published source details

McCullough-Hennessy S., Deutschman D.H., Shier D.M., Nordstrom L.A., Lenihan C., Montagne J.P., Wisinski C.L. & Swaisgood R.R. (2016) Experimental habitat restoration for conserved species using ecosystem engineers and vegetation management. Animal Conservation, 19, 506-514


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

Release translocated/captive-bred mammals into area with artificial refuges/breeding sites Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 2011–2014 of two areas of grassland and scrubland in southern California, USA (McCullough-Hennessy et al. 2016) found that where holes were drilled into the soil, densities of translocated California ground squirrels Otospermophilus beecheyi were higher than where no holes were drilled. Two years after management commenced, there were more squirrel burrows in drilled areas (43–124/subplot) than in areas that had not been drilled (11–122/subplot). Six plots each comprised a 0.8-ha circle, divided into three equal wedge-shaped subplots. Subplots were mown (in May, for two years, at 7.5–15 cm height, with cut material removed) and were either drilled with a soil auger (20 holes/subplot) or not drilled. The third subplot (data not presented here) was not mown and did not have holes drilled. Management commenced in 2011 (two plots) and 2012 (four plots). Squirrels were translocated into plots at a rate of 30–50/plot. Squirrel abundance was determined by counting squirrel burrows.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)

Remove vegetation by hand/machine Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A replicated, controlled, paired sites study in 2011–2014 of two areas of grassland and scrubland in southern California, USA (McCullough-Hennessy et al. 2016) found that in mown areas, California ground squirrel Otospermophilus beecheyi burrow densities were higher compared to in unmown areas. Three years after management commenced, there were more squirrel burrows in mown (11–122/subplot) compared to in unmown (12–54/subplot) areas. Each of six plots comprised a circle covering 0.8 ha, divided into three equal wedge-shaped subplots. One subplot in each plot was mown in May, for two years, at 7.5–15 cm height, with cut material removed and one was unmown. (Management details for the third subplot are not relevant to this intervention). Management commenced in 2011 (two plots) and 2012 (four plots). Squirrels were translocated into plots at a target rate of 30–50/plot. Squirrel abundance was determined by counting squirrel burrows.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)