Amphibians & Reptiles
Habitat-dependent responses of terrestrial salamanders to wildfire in the short-term
Gade et al., 2019
Wildfire is an important natural disturbance event that promotes landscape heterogeneity and regulates many wildlife communities. The compounding effects of fire suppression and climate change have increased the frequency and severity of wildfire, but the responses of many organisms to wildfire is unknown. Landscape heterogeneity, specifically microhabitats, may mediate and buffer the effects of wildfire, and evaluating variable responses to wildfire given habitat is key to developing a more cohesive understanding of population responses. Terrestrial plethodontid salamanders are likely disproportionality affected by wildfire events because of their lungless anatomy and reliance on cool and moist habitats. ...
Long distance Migrations, Landscape Use, and Vulnerability to Prescribed Fire of the Gopher Frog (Lithobates capito)
Humphries & Sisson, 2012
The Gopher Frog, Lithobates capito, is an endemic to upland, fire-maintained pine forests on the Southeastern Coastal Plain and requires open, isolated wetlands for breeding. This species has experienced drastic population declines because of habitat loss and degradation and now occurs only in scattered populations in the southern United States. We tracked the post-breeding movements and burrow use of 17 Gopher Frogs in the Sandhills of North Carolina using radio telemetry. Nine frogs were successfully tracked to summer refugia; the other eight frogs shed their transmitters or were killed by predators or fire during migration. Frogs traveled 0.5−3.5 km (mean = 1.3 km) between the breeding pond and a summer refugium. ...
Potential Positive Effects of Fire on Juvenile Amphibians in a Southern USA Pine Forest
Brown et al., 2011
Prescribed fire is a common tool used to conserve and manage the integrity of forest ecosystems. We investigated short-term juvenile amphibian capture and body condition changes subsequent to fire (i.e., one prescribed burn and two wildfires) in a southern United States pine forest. We surveyed amphibians and predatory invertebrates before and after fires occurring during summer 2010. We tested for treatment (i.e., control, wildfire, or prescribed burn) and status (i.e., preburn or postburn) differences in 1) genus-level captures, 2) amphibian health (inferred through a body...
Proceedings of the 4th Fire in Eastern Oak Forests Conference
Dey et al., 2011
Contains 14 full-length papers and 40 abstracts of posters that were presented at the 4th Fire in Eastern Oak Forests conference, held in Springfield, MO, May 17-19, 2011. The conference was attended by over 250 people from 65 different organizations and entities, representing 22 states and 1 Canadian province.
Reptile and amphibian response to oak regeneration treatments in productive southern Appalachian hardwood forest
Greenberg et al., 2016
Forest restoration efforts commonly employ silvicultural methods that alter light and competition to influence species composition. Changes to forest structure and microclimate may adversely affect some taxa (e.g., terrestrial salamanders), but positively affect others (e.g., early successional birds). Salamanders are cited as indicators of ecosystem health because of their sensitivity to forest floor microclimate. We used drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps in a replicated Before-After-Control-Impact design to experimentally assess herpetofaunal community response to initial application of three silvicultural methods proposed to promote oak regeneration: prescribed burning; midstory herbicide; ...
Reptile and amphibian response to season of burn in an upland hardwood forest
Greenberg et al., 2018
Growing-season burns are increasingly used in upland hardwood forest for multiple forest management goals. Many species of reptiles and amphibians are ground-dwelling, potentially increasing their vulnerability to prescribed fire, especially during the growing-season when they are most active. We used drift fences with pitfall traps to experimentally assess how herpetofaunal species and communities responded to early, growing-season burns, dormant-season burns, and unburned controls. We documented no adverse effects of either growing season burns or dormant-season burns on any common herpetofaunal taxa, but capture rates of total, adult, and juvenile five-lined skinks (Plestiodon fasciatus) were greater following growing-season burns. ...
Response of Reptiles and Amphibians to Repeated Fuel Reduction Treatments
Matthews et al., 2010
Recent use of prescribed fire and fire surrogates to reduce fuel hazards has spurred interest in their effects on wildlife. Studies of fire in the southern Appalachian Mountains (USA) have documented few effects on reptiles and amphibians. However, these studies were conducted after only one fire and for only a short time (1–3 yr) after the fire. From mid-May to mid-August 2006 and 2007, we used drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps to capture reptiles and amphibians in a control and 3 replicated fuel-reduction treatments: 1) twice-burned (2003 and 2006), 2) mechanical understory cut...
Short-term response of reptiles and amphibians to prescribed fire and mechanical fuel reduction in a southern Appalachian upland hardwood forest
Greenberg & Waldrop, 2008
We compared the effects of three fuel reduction techniques and a control on the relative abundance and richness of reptiles and amphibians using drift fence arrays with pitfall and funnel traps. Three replicate blocks were established at the Green River Game Land, Polk County, North Carolina. Each replicate block contained four experimental units that were each approximately 14 ha in size. Treatments were prescribed burn (B); mechanical understory reduction (M); mechanical + burn (MB); and controls (C). Mechanical treatments were conducted in winter 2001–2002, and prescribed burns in March 2003. Hot fires in MB killed about 25% of the trees, increasing canopy openness relative to controls. ...
The Effects of Prescribed Burning and Thinning as Fuel Reduction Treatments on Herpetofauna in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina
Kilpatrick et al., 2004
Due to heavy fuel loads resulting from years of fire suppression, upland pine and mixed pine hardwood forests in the Upper Piedmont of South Carolina are at risk of severe wildfire. The National Fire and Fire Surrogate Study (NFFS) was conducted on the Clemson Experimental Forest to study the effects of prescribed burning and thinning on a multitude of factors, including herpetofauna and small mammals. Drift fence/pitfall arrays, modified pitfalls, unmodified pitfalls, and hand captures were used to sample herpetofauna. We captured 1,317 reptiles and amphibians representing 40 species from September 9, 2000 to January 9, 2002. There were no significant treatment effects on abundance within five major taxa (frogs/toads, salamanders, turtles, lizards, and snakes). However, there were treatment effects on two lizard species. ...
Woodland salamander responses to a shelterwood harvest-prescribed burn silvicultural treatment within Appalachian mixed-oak forests
Mahoney et al., 2016
Forest management practices that mimic natural canopy disturbances, including prescribed fire and timber harvests, may reduce competition and facilitate establishment of favorable vegetative species within various ecosystems. Fire suppression in the central Appalachian region for almost a century has contributed to a transition from oak-dominated to more mesophytic, fire-intolerant forest communities. Prescribed fire coupled with timber removal is currently implemented to aid in oak regeneration and establishment but responses of woodland salamanders to this complex silvicultural system is poorly documented. ...