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What Works in Conservation 2020

William J. Sutherland
Lynn V. Dicks
Silviu O. Petrovan
et al.

1. Amphibian conservation

1.2 Threat: Agriculture

Texte intégral

1.2.1 Engage farmers and other volunteers

Likely to be beneficial

Engage landowners and other volunteers to manage land for amphibians

1Three studies, including one replicated and one controlled study, in Estonia, Mexico and Taiwan found that engaging landowners and other volunteers in habitat management increased amphibian populations and axolotl weight. Six studies in Estonia, the USA and UK found that up to 41,000 volunteers were engaged in habitat restoration programmes for amphibians and restored up to 1,023 ponds or 11,500 km2 of habitat. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 70 %; certainty 55 %; harms 5 %).


Pay farmers to cover the costs of conservation measures

3Four of five studies, including two replicated studies, in Denmark, Sweden and Taiwan found that payments to farmers increased amphibian populations, numbers of species or breeding habitat. One found that amphibian habitat was not maintained. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 70 %; certainty 53 %; harms 10 %).


1.2.2 Terrestrial habitat management

Manage silviculture practices in plantations

5Studies investigating the effects of silviculture practices are discussed in ‘Threat: Biological resource use — Logging and wood harvesting’.

Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)

Manage cutting regime

6One before-and-after study in Australia found that restoration that included reduced mowing increased numbers of frog species. Assessment for ‘Change mowing regime’ from ‘Habitat restoration and creation’ section: unknown effectiveness — limited evidence (effectiveness 50 %; certainty 30 %; harms 0 %).


Manage grazing regime

8Two studies, including one replicated, controlled study, in the UK and USA found that grazed plots had lower numbers of toads than ungrazed plots and that grazing, along with burning, decreased numbers of amphibian species. Five studies, including four replicated studies, in Denmark, Estonia and the UK found that habitat management that included reintroduction of grazing maintained or increased toad populations. Assessment: unknown effectiveness — limited evidence (effectiveness 45 %; certainty 39 %; harms 10 %).


No evidence found (no assessment)

10We have captured no evidence for the following interventions:

  • Maintain or restore hedges
  • Plant new hedges
  • Reduced tillage

1.2.3 Aquatic habitat management

Likely to be beneficial

Manage ditches

11One controlled, before-and-after study in the UK found that managing ditches increased toad numbers. One replicated, site comparison study in the Netherlands found that numbers of amphibians and species were higher in ditches managed under agri-environment schemes compared to those managed conventionally. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 71 %; certainty 60 %; harms 0 %).


Likely to be ineffective or harmful

Exclude domestic animals or wild hogs from ponds by fencing

13Four replicated studies, including one randomized, controlled, before-and-after study, in the USA found that excluding livestock from streams or ponds did not increase overall numbers of amphibians, species, eggs or larval survival, but did increase larval and metamorph abundance. One before-and-after study in the UK found that pond restoration that included livestock exclusion increased pond use by breeding toads. Assessment: likely to be ineffective or harmful (effectiveness 31 %; certainty 50 %; harms 25 %).



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