Having reoccupied the Stegall glades, they went to Thorny Mountain, starting to colonize glades there in 2000. Thorny is a long mountain that comes very close to Mill Mountain at its far end.
"We had an initial colonization on Mill in 2004, but it didn't take. A couple of years later there was a female on Mill Mountain, but no other lizard and we never found her again. Then a third time we found some lizards and since then that glade has consistently had lizards and the population is steadily growing.
"Moreover, you can tell they're exploring; not yet colonizing, but visiting other glades," Templeton says.
The Ecology paper celebrates the fact that on Stegall Mountain, the first mountain to be recolonized, the metapopulation of lizards living on interconnected glades had been stable since 2000.
"The glades only support a dozen lizards or so," Templeton says, "so you always have this problem that just by chance one population might go extinct. And if you're in a situation where the glade can't be recolonized, that's it, you're done.
"After 1994, we still had Stegall glades going extinct, but now they'd be extinct for one or two years and then they'd be recolonized because the woodland has this more open habitat form and the lizards can move through it.
"The Stegall metapopulation is very dynamic," he says. "Local components of it blink on and off, but at the global level it is very stable.
"But the important point is we no longer have to transport lizards. Instead, we've created the ecological conditions that let them get there on their own four legs. I put them on three glades on those mountains, and on their own they've colonized another 140.
"So our work shows that if you manage at the landscape level and restore fundamental ecological
|Contact: Diana Lutz|
Washington University in St. Louis