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Identifying core habitat before it’s too late: The case of Bombina variegata, an internationally endangered amphibian

Domenii publicaţii > Biologie + Tipuri publicaţii > Articol în revistã ştiinţificã

Autori: Scheele, B., Boyd, C.E., Fischer, J.F., Fletcher, A.W., Hanspach, J., Hartel, T

Editorial: Biodiversity and Conservation, in press, 2014.


Impending land-use change, including agricultural intensification, is increasingly threatening biodiversity in traditional rural landscapes. To ensure the persistence of species that are vulnerable to land-use change it is necessary to identify and protect high quality habitat before species start to decline. A potential problem is that many potentially vulnerable species are still widespread in traditional rural landscapes, making it difficult to identify particularly important locations for such species. Presence-absence data on a given species may have limited application in such cases. As an alternative to presence-absence data, we investigated the influence of environmental variables on the physiological body condition of Bombina variegata (yellow-bellied toad) in a traditional rural landscape in Transylvania, Romania. The species is internationally endangered but remains common throughout our study area. Based on body condition measurements of 550 toads from 60 ponds, we found that toads in forest ponds had significantly better body condition than those in pasture ponds, indicating that forest landscapes provided particularly high quality habitat. We suggest that measures such as body condition – in addition to distribution data – could have considerable application in identifying high quality habitat for other species that are still widespread in traditional landscapes, but have declined in modernised, but otherwise similar landscapes.

Cuvinte cheie: amphibian decline, body condition, land-use change, traditional agriculture, yellow-bellied toad