Land of the lizards: Victoria’s East Gippsland was a refuge for threatened reptiles. The fires changed that

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Scientists say the loss of millions of reptiles in Australia’s summer bushfires will have a huge impact on ecosystems and biodiversity

What should have been a damp swamp beside Victoria’s Bemm River in East Gippsland was a blackened crunchy mess when Nick Clemann arrived in early March.

“These are habitats not known for burning. To have them converted to just smouldering charcoal was pretty confronting,” says Clemann, a senior scientist for the Victorian state government’s Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.

Related: Fledgling 0601: the baby cockatoo that rose from the ashes of Australia’s bushfires

Related: ‘A moment of complete despair’: last population of Macquarie perch all but wiped out in NSW river carnage

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