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Burning in Banksia Woodlands: How does the fire-free period influence reptile communities?

Valentine, Leonie E., Reaveley, Alice, Johnson, Brent, Fisher, Rebecca and Wilson, Barbara A. 2012, Burning in Banksia Woodlands: How does the fire-free period influence reptile communities?, PLoS ONE, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 1-13, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034448.

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Title Burning in Banksia Woodlands: How does the fire-free period influence reptile communities?
Author(s) Valentine, Leonie E.
Reaveley, Alice
Johnson, Brent
Fisher, Rebecca
Wilson, Barbara A.
Contributor(s) Hayward, M
Journal name PLoS ONE
Volume number 7
Issue number 4
Article ID e34448
Start page 1
End page 13
Publisher Public Library of Science
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2012-04-05
ISSN 1932-6203
Summary Fire is an important management tool for both hazard reduction burning and maintenance of biodiversity. The impact of time since last fire on fauna is an important factor to understand as land managers often aim for prescribed burning regimes with specific fire-free intervals. However, our current understanding of the impact of time since last fire on fauna is largely unknown and likely dependent on vegetation type. We examined the responses of reptiles to fire age in banksia woodlands, and the interspersed melaleuca damplands among them, north of Perth, Western Australia, where the current prescribed burning regime is targeting a fire-free period of 8–12 years. The response of reptiles to fire was dependent on vegetation type. Reptiles were generally more abundant (e.g. Lerista elegans and Ctenophorus adelaidensis) and specious in banksia sites. Several species (e.g. Menetia greyii, Cryptoblepharus buchananii) preferred long unburnt melaleuca sites (.16 years since last fire, YSLF) compared to recently burnt sites (,12 YSLF). Several of the small elapids (e.g. the WA priority listed species Neelaps calonotus) were only detected in older-aged banksia sites (.16 YSLF). The terrestrial dragon C. adelaidensis and the skink Morethia obscura displayed a strong response to fire in banksia woodlands only. Highest abundances of the dragon were detected in the recently burnt (,7 YSLF) and long unburnt (.35 YSLF) banksia woodlands, while the skink was more abundant in older sites. Habitats from a range of fire ages are required to support the reptiles we detected, especially the longer unburnt (.16 YSLF) melaleuca habitat. Current burning prescriptions are reducing the availability of these older habitats.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0034448
Field of Research 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
050204 Environmental Impact Assessment
050205 Environmental Management
MD Multidisciplinary
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2012, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30103004

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.