The decline of the common lizard in man-made landscapes. Some examples of the consequences of nature- and landscape management measures in the Voorsterveld area The Common lizard (Zootoca vivipara) is the most common reptile in the Netherlands. Nevertheless, the species has fallen sharply in recent decades. This is especially the case in agricultural landscapes. This decline is mainly caused by intensified land use. In addition, the consequences of global developments such as climate change, high nitrogen deposition and the drastic decline of insects are negative for this species. These developments occur over a long period of time, therefore the impact is not always clearly visible. Small populations have been under pressure for a long time and are becoming increasingly vulnerable. In such circumstances, minor changes in the landscape can eventually have disastrous consequences. The Voorsterveld is a man-made agricultural landscape where Common lizards are scattered throughout verges, ditches, along forest edges, wood girdles and parcel borders. In 2017 and 2018 various activities were carried out in the Voorsterveld that could pose a threat to the remaining population of Common lizards. This concerns the integral mowing of verges and ditches where this was normally done in phases, the damping of ditches and clearing up of plot boundaries and felling of rows of trees on the banks of field roads which resulted in the total disappearance of the vegetation structure. After the execution of these management practices none, or only a fraction of the number of lizards that were normally found on these locations, were observed in the following years. It is likely that the habitat at most locations only temporary is destroyed. Lizards are still present in various surrounding places. Therefore it is expected that the locations were management measures were carried out, will be repopulated when the conditions improve. Time will tell what the final impact of the work will be on the population in the Voorsterveld area.

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CC BY 3.0 NL ("Naamsvermelding")


R. Geraeds. (2020). De achteruitgang van de levendbarende hagedis in het cultuurlandschap: praktijkvoorbeelden van de gevolgen van inrichtings- en beheermaatregelen in het Voorsterveld. RAVON, 22(2), 31–35.
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