Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)



Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Henry R. Mushinsky, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Earl D. McCoy, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Peter Stiling, Ph.D.


Florida sand pine scrub is among the most endangered habitats in the United States and much of the remaining scrub is heavily influenced by management for timber production. In this study the effects of timber management practices on herpetofaunal community diversity and composition were investigated on experimentally manipulated plots near Orlando, Florida. Plots at three sites were either harvested, burned, or treated as a control (unmanipulated). Herpetofauna were trapped using pit-fall drift-fence trapping arrays. Animals were counted, measured, marked and released from March 1996 to June 1998. During this time period 1489 reptiles and amphibians were caught from 31 different species. In general, the control plots were the most diverse and the bum plots were more diverse than the harvested plots. The treatments also influenced the composition ofthe communities found within them. Non-metric multi-dimensional scaling of species associations indicated that species assemblage found in the harvested site plots are different than those found in the bum and control plots. Harvested plots were dominated by several very common generalist species that are associated with open canopy cover. In addition to the species associations with open canopy cover, the burned and control plots contained species associated with denser canopy cover. The increased habitat structure of the burned and control plots may account for the greater herpetofaunal species diversity and evenness there. This VI study supports the contention that silvicultural practices have a greater affect on the diversity and structure of Florida sand pine scrub than does prescribed burning.

Included in

Zoology Commons