Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2024

Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Program


Degree Name

Master of Science

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Kiyoshi Sasaki, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Jennifer Schafer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dr. Salvatore Blair, Ph.D.


Woodland box turtle; space use; land use; home range; land management


Human land use change has resulted in extensive habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, threatening biodiversity worldwide. The population of woodland box turtles (Terrapene carolina carolina) has declined because of land use changes throughout the temperate broadleaf forests of the eastern United States. However, the responses of woodland box turtles to land use change remain unclear, with inconsistent responses documented in the literature. To understand how woodland box turtles respond to different land cover types, this study estimated habitat selection and home range in a mosaic landscape in the Piedmont of South Carolina, U.S.A. Specifically, this study asked whether woodland box turtles select or avoid pine plantations, hardwood forests, grasslands, and roadsides. The results indicate that the woodland box turtles selected for all habitat types considered; no avoidance was detected. However, the strength of selection varied among land cover types. Hardwood forests had the highest probability of selection, closely followed by pine plantations and to a lesser degree, grasslands and roadsides in that order. Home range sizes did not differ between males and females or among different land cover types. Land management strategies encouraged by this study would include promoting the growth of hardwood and mixed wood forests, encouraging the growth of understory vegetation in pine plantations, maintaining small open areas next to forests, and encouraging shrub and vegetation growth near roads.

Included in

Life Sciences Commons