Prescribed fire considerations for amphibians and reptiles

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It is well-known that fire has historically played an important role in creating and maintaining ecosystems in the Midwest. In landscapes where fire has been suppressed or where invasive and exotic plant species have taken hold, prescribed fire is a useful tool for restoring native plant communities.

This management technique can be valuable for increasing suitable habitat for some herpetofauna. However, there is a growing body of evidence that it may also be damaging to resident populations of reptiles and amphibians. When planning prescribed fires, habitat managers should consider the needs of all parts of existing floral and faunal communities. Maintenance of native animal populations, particularly vulnerable, rare, or threatened species, deserve as much attention as the manipulation of plant communities toward a predetermined goal. To assist land managers concerned about the impacts of fire on herpetofauna, the Midwest Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) provide the following recommendations to promote effective use of prescribed fire in ecosystem restoration.