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Critical Elements for Biologically Based Recovery Plans of Aquatic-Breeding Amphibians

Raymond D. Semlitsch
Conservation Biology
Vol. 16, No. 3 (Jun., 2002), pp. 619-629
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3061208
Page Count: 11
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Critical Elements for Biologically Based Recovery Plans of Aquatic-Breeding Amphibians
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Abstract

The global loss of biodiversity and the increasing number of threatened or endangered species have focused attention on conservation and species-recovery strategies. Because current evidence indicates that some amphibians are experiencing population declines, range constrictions, or extinctions, and federal and state agencies have listed many species as threatened or endangered, it is essential to develop sound principles upon which to base recovery plans for different ecosystems, amphibian communities, or species if we are to balance the conservation of amphibian diversity with economic development and a growing human population. I present a framework of biologically based principles that can be used for current species conservation efforts. My goal is to provide the critical elements needed to develop biologically based recovery plans for aquatic-breeding amphibians in any region. This paper is organized in three parts: (1) an overview of critical local population and landscape processes required to maintain amphibian species and threats, (2) the critical elements associated with successful recovery plans, and (3) considerations for measuring success and long-term habitat management. Clearly, we need more basic data on life-history requirements, special adaptations, habitat use, dispersal behavior, and population biology, especially factors influencing long-term persistence for many species. Nevertheless, because some species are in urgent need of conservation action, we cannot afford to wait for additional data; the most important critical elements required to initiate effective recovery efforts for amphibians are known. I hope my discussion will help managers understand the importance of incorporating local population and metapopulation factors into their recovery and restoration plans. I also hope managers begin to think about ultimate recovery and restoration strategies that consider connectivity among populations across regions and state boundaries. Only through such coordinated efforts can we really be certain that species are conserved and biodiversity is maintained.

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