Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub


    As part of a larger study examining the role of prescribed fire in regenerating upland oaks (Quercus spp.), seasonal prescribed burns (winter, spring, summer, and unburned control) were applied to first-stage shelterwood-harvested stands on Horsepen Wildlife Management Area in the Virginia Piedmont in 1995. Because fire impacts are poorly documented for herpetofaunal communities, we surveyed these stands in 1996 capturing 133 individuals of ten species during over 12,720 pitfall trapnights. We found no significant differences in relative abundance of Eastern Red-backed Salamanders (Plethodon cinereus) (P = 0.26), American Toads (Bufo americanus (P = 0.93), or all amphibians combined (P = 0.25) among unburned shelterwood stands and those treated with winter, spring, or summer burns. Three species of reptiles (Northern Fence Lizard [Sceloporus undulatus], Ground Skink [Scincella lateralis], and Southeastern Five-lined Skink [Eumeces inexpectatus]) combined were captured more frequently in burned versus unburned stands (P = 0.02). Based on a stepwise multiple regression model, Eastern Red-backed Salamander captures were more strongly influenced by landscape variables (P = 0.0320), including distance to permanent water and mesic (i.e., eastern-northern) aspects, than by fire treatments (P = 0.26). Similar landscape models were not significant (P < 0.05) for toads or reptiles. Based on these results, prescribed fire may not be detrimental to herpetofaunal communities in oak dominated forests in the Virginia Piedmont.

    Publication Notes

    • Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
    • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
    • During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
    • Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Keyser, Patrick D.; Sausville, David J.; Ford, W. Mark; Schwab, Donald J.; Brose, Partick H. 2004. Prescribed Fire Impacts to Amphibians and Reptiles in Shelterwood-harvested Oak-dominated Forests. Virginia Journal of Science 55(4):159-168

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page