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Keywords:

  • abundance–biomass comparisons;
  • environmental monitoring;
  • herpetofauna;
  • prescribed fire

Herpetofauna are frequently cited as ideal indicators for environmental and restoration monitoring due to their importance to ecological functioning, dominance of vertebrate biomass, and sensitivity to environmental change. Despite this relevance, herpetofauna have yet to be fully integrated into comprehensive, community-scale restoration monitoring methodologies. We tested the applicability of one such method, abundance–biomass comparisons (ABCs), to monitoring restoration success in a longleaf pine ecosystem currently undergoing restoration via prescribed burning. W statistics (a metric of environmental perturbation) for herpetofaunal assemblages in longleaf pine stands managed under varying fire intervals closely tracked forest succession from recently burned longleaf pine stands to those characterized by longer times since last burn and high levels of hardwood encroachment. Our results suggest that ABCs may be an applicable method for terrestrial restoration monitoring that encompasses entire faunal assemblages and allows for generality in restoration or disturbance response. We emphasize, however, that applications of this method and others need to take into account the specific ecological characteristics of study organisms and the natural history of study sites to avoid incorrect interpretations of disturbance response and inappropriate management recommendations.