Terrestrial herpetofaunal assemblages in secondary forests and exotic Lophostemon confertus plantations in South China

Yik Hei SUNG*, Nancy E. KARRAKER, Billy C.H. HAU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)

9 Citations (Scopus)


Deforestation is one of the major causes of biodiversity loss. Globally, large areas of primary forest have been replaced by secondary forests and plantations, and changes in tree species composition have often led to alteration of plant and animal communities that were associated with those primary forests. Hong Kong has experienced a long history of deforestation and may be one of the pioneers in using exotic tree plantations for forest restoration in Asia. In this study, we sampled herpetofaunal assemblages in native, secondary forests and exotic Lophostemon confertus plantations by transect surveys, pitfall traps, and coverboards. Amphibians were more abundant in secondary forests than in plantations, while the abundance of reptiles and species compositions of both amphibians and reptiles were similar in both forest types. Body condition of the most common reptile, Sphenomorphus indicus (Indian forest skink), was similar between secondary forests and plantations. However, higher proportions of S. indicus exhibited autotomized or missing tails in secondary forests than in plantations, which may be related to higher percentages of rock and wood cover on the forest floor potentially increasing the chance of escape from predators in secondary forests. Secondary forests may provide a better habitat for herpetofauna, we suggest that planting of a mixture of native tree species and thinning of exotic trees may be favorable management efforts to enhance biodiversity in future plantation in South China.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-77
Number of pages7
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Early online date9 Feb 2012
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Amphibian
  • Exotic plantation
  • Forest regeneration
  • Reforestation
  • Reptile
  • Secondary forest

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