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Amphibians in agricultural landscapes: the habitat value of crop areas, linear plantings and remnant woodland patches
journal contributionposted on 2019-02-01, 00:00 authored by N A Hansen, B C Scheele, Don DriscollDon Driscoll, D B Lindenmayer
Mitigating the negative impacts of agriculture on amphibians requires knowledge of how different land uses affect species distribution and community composition. In the case of frogs, there is currently insufficient information on their use of terrestrial habitats in cropping landscapes to inform conservation planning. We examined how four different farmland types (linear plantings, cereal crops, grazing paddocks and woody mulch) and crop harvesting influenced amphibian abundance, richness, body condition and movement. We found the abundance of frogs was significantly higher in linear plantings compared to grazing paddocks and adjacent patches of remnant woodland vegetation. However, species richness and abundance of three individual species did not vary significantly between farmland types. For the most common frog Uperoleia laevigata, body condition was higher at the edges of the woody debris treatment (coupled with higher abundance) and lower in farmland with debris and linear plantings. The body condition of Limnodynastes tasmaniensis and L. interioris was not influenced by farmland type. Frog abundance and condition was largely unaffected by crop harvesting. However, frogs were less common after harvesting at the edges of farmland and within remnant patches. Movement patterns did not suggest mass movement out of crops after harvest, where almost half of all individuals recaptured remained within the farmland. These results suggest that some generalist frog species may have an affinity for habitats within agricultural paddocks, particularly when key habitat features like plantings are present. However, we found overall frog richness was low and did not differ between remnant patches, edges and farmland which may be an indication of habitat degradation within terrestrial habitats across the landscape. Although protection of remnant native vegetation is important, conservation strategies for the protection of amphibians will be ineffective if they do not consider the variety of land uses and the relationships of different species and their microhabitats within and outside of patches.
Pagination72 - 82
Publication classificationC Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice2018, The Zoological Society of London
body condition indexrestorationmatrixhabitat qualityland-useagricultural landamphibiansspecies richnessScience & TechnologyLife Sciences & BiomedicineBiodiversity ConservationEcologyBiodiversity & ConservationEnvironmental Sciences & EcologyCOARSE WOODY DEBRISMATRIX PERMEABILITYTIMBER HARVESTCLIMATE-CHANGEFORESTFROGREPTILESCONSERVATIONRESPONSESEcology