Deakin University

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Reptiles in restored agricultural landscapes: the value of linear strips, patches and habitat condition

journal contribution
posted on 2014-12-01, 00:00 authored by S Jellinek, Kirsten Parris, M A McCarthy, B A Wintle, Don DriscollDon Driscoll
Habitat restoration, including revegetation of linear strips and enlargement of remnant patches, may benefit native fauna in highly fragmented landscapes. Such restoration has occurred around the world, even though the relative importance of strips and patches of vegetation remains controversial. Using reptile communities from south-eastern Australia, we assessed the conservation value of revegetation in strips and alongside remnant patches compared with remnant vegetation and cleared roadsides. We also examined the distance that reptiles occurred from remnant patches into linear vegetation. We found that reptile species richness and counts did not substantially differ between revegetated, remnant and cleared habitats, or between linear strip and patch treatments. This may indicate that species sensitive to land clearing have already been lost from the landscape. These results imply that if specialist species have already been lost, we may be unable to measure the effects of agriculture on biodiversity. Furthermore, revegetation with the expectation that fauna will recolonize may be unrealistic and translocations may be necessary. Unexpectedly, we recorded higher species richness and counts of rare reptile species in remnant linear strips as distance from remnant patches increased. Ground-layer attributes were important for increasing reptile species richness and counts and in structuring reptile communities, explaining approximately three times as much variation as remnant shape or vegetation type (remnant, revegetated, cleared). Management agencies should protect and effectively manage remnant linear strips if rarer reptiles are to be retained, paying particular attention to ground-layer attributes. The decision to include ground layers in future revegetation activities will be more important than the shape of restored areas.



Animal conservation






544 - 554




Chichester, Eng.







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, The Zoological Society of London