Influence of conservation programs on amphibians using seasonal wetlands in the Prairie Pothole region

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Extensive modification of upland habitats surrounding wetlands to facilitate agricultural production has negatively impacted amphibian communities in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. In attempts to mitigate ecosystem damage associated with extensive landscape alteration, vast tracks of upland croplands have been returned to perennial vegetative cover (i.e., conservation grasslands) under a variety of U.S. Department of Agriculture programs. We evaluated the influence of these conservation grasslands on amphibian occupancy of seasonal wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region. Using automated call surveys, aquatic funnel traps, and visual encounter surveys, we detected eight amphibian species using wetlands within three land-use categories (farmed, conservation grasslands, and native prairie grasslands) during the summers of 2005 and 2006. Seasonal wetlands within farmlands were used less frequently by amphibians than those within conservation and native prairie grasslands, and wetlands within conservation grasslands were used less frequently than those within native prairie grasslands by all species and life-stages we successfully modeled. Our results suggest that, while not occupied as frequently as wetlands within native prairie, wetlands within conservation grasslands provide important habitat for maintaining amphibian biodiversity in the Prairie Pothole Region.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Influence of conservation programs on amphibians using seasonal wetlands in the Prairie Pothole region
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-012-0269-9
Volume 32
Issue 2
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 13 p.
First page 333
Last page 345
Country United States
State Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota
Other Geospatial Prairie Potholes region
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