Counteracting habitat loss: Comparing the efficacy of major management practices in restoring and maintaining grassland habitats for at risk reptiles

Prescribed fire and mechanical removal of woody vegetation have become popular disturbance methods for restoring globally rare alvar and grassland habitats that support many species at risk, such as reptiles. However, the effects that these restoration efforts have on rare reptiles is largely unknown. This study will identify alterations in habitat usage of endangered snake species by monitoring their presence within habitats, surveying vegetative structure, and monitoring environmental temperatures both before and after management across multiple locations with grassland-alvar habitat. This research will provide insight into which disturbance method results in the highest quality of habitat, specifically in terms of thermal ecology, for rare reptiles in these habitas. Ontario Nature is a not-for-profit conservation organization that is partnering on this project. From the study, they will gain knowledge on the best management practices for grassland and alvar habitats on their 25 properties across Ontario.

Intern: 
Ryan Wolfe
Faculty Supervisor: 
Njal Rollinson
Province: 
Ontario
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