Glade restoration and conservation management of Eastern Collared Lizards in Northern Arkansas
March 2020 - March 2022
- Brett Degregorio, Co-Principal Investigator
- Casey Brewster, Principal Investigator
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission: State Wildlife Grant
The Eastern Collared Lizard is a state-protected lizard species that relies upon a decining habitat: the Ozark glade ecosystem. Collared Lizards must maintain high body temperatures and the encroachment of shrubs into glade habitats renders them unsuitable and makes it impossible for Collared Lizards to maintain their preferred temperature while also successfully foraging and mating. Working with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, The US Forest Service, and the National Parks Service, Dr. Casey Brewster and I are using brush removal and prescribed fire to improve glade-habitat quality and connectivity and to conduct Eastern Collared Lizard population recovery efforts at nine glades within the Ozark Highlands. Our objectives include removing cedar from over 200 acres of glade habitat and restoring or reintroducing Eastern Collared Lizards to each glade. This is a direct management and recovery action for an imperiled ecosystem and an imperiled species within the state of Arkansas. This study will assess how lizard populations respond directly to management and may create additional populations by translocating lizards from rock quarries to newly restored habitat patches. These actions will directly improve the viability of Collared Lizard populations in the state of Arkansas.