Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes

Chloe F. Sato, Jeffrey Wood, Mellesa Schroder, Damian R. Michael, William Osborne, Ken Green, David B. Lindenmayer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Subalpine ecosystems are centres of endemism that are important for biodiversity. However, these areas are under threat from the creation, expansion and continued modification of ski runs, activities that have largely negative effects on wildlife. Despite this threat, research on the impacts of ski runs is limited for reptiles—particularly regarding the value of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs. Here we quantify the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation (i.e., patch size, patch isolation and edge effects) on the abundance of a common subalpine lizard and on thermal regimes (a key determinant of lizard distribution) in an Australian ski resort. The number of lizards observed differed significantly with habitat type (ski runs vs. forested areas) and patch isolation, but not patch size. In addition, the edges of patches supported more lizards than any other habitat type. These patterns of lizard distribution can be explained, in part, by the differing thermal regimes in each habitat. Ski runs had significantly higher ground surface temperatures than any other habitat type, precluding their use for a considerable proportion of the activity period of a lizard. In comparison, edges were characterised by lower temperatures than ski runs, but higher temperatures than the core of forested areas, potentially providing a favourable environment for thermoregulation. Based on our results, we conclude that although modified ski runs have a negative effect on lizards, patches of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs are of value for reptiles and their conservation could help mitigate the negative effects of habitat loss caused by ski run creation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1225-1236
    Number of pages12
    JournalLandscape Ecology
    Volume29
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    reptile
    habitat
    conservation
    lizard
    Values
    habitat type
    social isolation
    patch size
    thermal regime
    habitat loss
    threat
    isolation effect
    biodiversity
    fragmentation
    ski run
    thermoregulation
    edge effect
    vegetation
    endemism
    habitat fragmentation

    Cite this

    Sato, C. F., Wood, J., Schroder, M., Michael, D. R., Osborne, W., Green, K., & Lindenmayer, D. B. (2014). Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes. Landscape Ecology, 29(7), 1225-1236. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-0058-3
    Sato, Chloe F. ; Wood, Jeffrey ; Schroder, Mellesa ; Michael, Damian R. ; Osborne, William ; Green, Ken ; Lindenmayer, David B. / Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes. In: Landscape Ecology. 2014 ; Vol. 29, No. 7. pp. 1225-1236.
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    abstract = "Subalpine ecosystems are centres of endemism that are important for biodiversity. However, these areas are under threat from the creation, expansion and continued modification of ski runs, activities that have largely negative effects on wildlife. Despite this threat, research on the impacts of ski runs is limited for reptiles—particularly regarding the value of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs. Here we quantify the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation (i.e., patch size, patch isolation and edge effects) on the abundance of a common subalpine lizard and on thermal regimes (a key determinant of lizard distribution) in an Australian ski resort. The number of lizards observed differed significantly with habitat type (ski runs vs. forested areas) and patch isolation, but not patch size. In addition, the edges of patches supported more lizards than any other habitat type. These patterns of lizard distribution can be explained, in part, by the differing thermal regimes in each habitat. Ski runs had significantly higher ground surface temperatures than any other habitat type, precluding their use for a considerable proportion of the activity period of a lizard. In comparison, edges were characterised by lower temperatures than ski runs, but higher temperatures than the core of forested areas, potentially providing a favourable environment for thermoregulation. Based on our results, we conclude that although modified ski runs have a negative effect on lizards, patches of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs are of value for reptiles and their conservation could help mitigate the negative effects of habitat loss caused by ski run creation.",
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    Sato, CF, Wood, J, Schroder, M, Michael, DR, Osborne, W, Green, K & Lindenmayer, DB 2014, 'Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes', Landscape Ecology, vol. 29, no. 7, pp. 1225-1236. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10980-014-0058-3

    Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes. / Sato, Chloe F.; Wood, Jeffrey; Schroder, Mellesa; Michael, Damian R.; Osborne, William; Green, Ken; Lindenmayer, David B.

    In: Landscape Ecology, Vol. 29, No. 7, 2014, p. 1225-1236.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Designing for conservation outcomes: the value of remnant habitat for reptiles on ski runs in subalpine landscapes

    AU - Sato, Chloe F.

    AU - Wood, Jeffrey

    AU - Schroder, Mellesa

    AU - Michael, Damian R.

    AU - Osborne, William

    AU - Green, Ken

    AU - Lindenmayer, David B.

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - Subalpine ecosystems are centres of endemism that are important for biodiversity. However, these areas are under threat from the creation, expansion and continued modification of ski runs, activities that have largely negative effects on wildlife. Despite this threat, research on the impacts of ski runs is limited for reptiles—particularly regarding the value of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs. Here we quantify the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation (i.e., patch size, patch isolation and edge effects) on the abundance of a common subalpine lizard and on thermal regimes (a key determinant of lizard distribution) in an Australian ski resort. The number of lizards observed differed significantly with habitat type (ski runs vs. forested areas) and patch isolation, but not patch size. In addition, the edges of patches supported more lizards than any other habitat type. These patterns of lizard distribution can be explained, in part, by the differing thermal regimes in each habitat. Ski runs had significantly higher ground surface temperatures than any other habitat type, precluding their use for a considerable proportion of the activity period of a lizard. In comparison, edges were characterised by lower temperatures than ski runs, but higher temperatures than the core of forested areas, potentially providing a favourable environment for thermoregulation. Based on our results, we conclude that although modified ski runs have a negative effect on lizards, patches of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs are of value for reptiles and their conservation could help mitigate the negative effects of habitat loss caused by ski run creation.

    AB - Subalpine ecosystems are centres of endemism that are important for biodiversity. However, these areas are under threat from the creation, expansion and continued modification of ski runs, activities that have largely negative effects on wildlife. Despite this threat, research on the impacts of ski runs is limited for reptiles—particularly regarding the value of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs. Here we quantify the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation (i.e., patch size, patch isolation and edge effects) on the abundance of a common subalpine lizard and on thermal regimes (a key determinant of lizard distribution) in an Australian ski resort. The number of lizards observed differed significantly with habitat type (ski runs vs. forested areas) and patch isolation, but not patch size. In addition, the edges of patches supported more lizards than any other habitat type. These patterns of lizard distribution can be explained, in part, by the differing thermal regimes in each habitat. Ski runs had significantly higher ground surface temperatures than any other habitat type, precluding their use for a considerable proportion of the activity period of a lizard. In comparison, edges were characterised by lower temperatures than ski runs, but higher temperatures than the core of forested areas, potentially providing a favourable environment for thermoregulation. Based on our results, we conclude that although modified ski runs have a negative effect on lizards, patches of remnant vegetation retained on ski runs are of value for reptiles and their conservation could help mitigate the negative effects of habitat loss caused by ski run creation.

    KW - Edge effects

    KW - Habitat loss

    KW - Habitat fragmentation

    KW - Lizard

    KW - Metapopulation theory

    KW - Skink

    KW - Thermal regime

    U2 - 10.1007/s10980-014-0058-3

    DO - 10.1007/s10980-014-0058-3

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    JO - Landscape Ecology

    JF - Landscape Ecology

    SN - 0921-2973

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    ER -