This month on Lighting a Match, Caleb walks us through an overgrown and fire-suppressed area at The Orianne Society’s Longleaf Stewardship Center that has been clear cut, leaving little islands around the Gopher Tortoise burrows, and prepared for planting.
“This portrait of a Gopher Tortoise represents a lot of my love for longleaf pine ecosystems, especially in southern Mississippi…” Connect with Evan Grimes and see more of his photography.
I wrote last month about our recent Line Transect Distance Surveys (LTDS) for Gopher Tortoises on the Orianne Indigo Snake Preserve. This survey technique has become the standard for the vast majority of the tortoise monitoring that occurs across the southeast and with good reason. The LTDS framework presents a relatively easy survey methodology that can be carried out reliably by a small group of observers. Furthermore, it accomplishes the general goal of monitoring populations for a species that can be difficult to actually encounter using other survey techniques (i.e., tortoises are underground a majority of the time). With all of this said, are there circumstances where an alternative survey approach may be desired to monitor tortoise populations?
In a world with increasing human development, Gopher Tortoise translocations are an unfortunate reality in longleaf ecosystem conservation.…