Alpine/subalpine environments are diverse systems that support many endemic species. Worldwide, these ecosystems are under threat from ski resort disturbances – even in areas broadly designated for biodiversity conservation. The effects of ski resorts on reptiles are largely unknown, making it difficult to implement effective conservation actions. Many ski resorts do not currently address the needs of reptiles, even those listed as threatened, in their management plans. If reptiles are to continue inhabiting ski resorts in Australia, strategies must be implemented that target their conservation. To begin to address this problem, we summarise current research investigating the effects of ski resorts on reptiles. Based on this information, we recommend strategies that will enhance the conservation of reptiles in areas affected by ski-related disturbances. Suggested strategies include (i) restricting intensive disturbances to already highly modified areas of Australian ski resorts, (ii) avoiding disturbance of remaining native vegetation and structural complexity in ski resorts and (iii) re-establishing structural complexity at highly modified sites through revegetation programmes, or through the cessation of mowing during peak reptile activity periods. While these strategies are designed to facilitate the persistence of reptiles in ski resorts, their long-term success can only be evaluated by monitoring their effectiveness.
Sato, C. F., Schroder, M., Green, K., Michael, D. R., Osborne, W., & Lindenmayer, D. B. (2014). Managing ski resorts to improve biodiversity conservation: Australian reptiles as a case study. Ecological Management and Restoration, 15(2), 147-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/emr.12111