Larissa Bailey (Colorado State), USGS, FWS, and SCC volunteers building vernal pools at Patuxent NWR, to adaptively manage for climate change. Photo by: A. Green.
Only a few years ago, amphibians were rarely considered in the development and implementation of management plans. But now, it's not uncommon to see amphibian populations as the primary targets of management activities.
ARMI scientists conduct research on the impacts of various traditional management actions on amphibians, and have worked with partners to develop and test novel management options specifically to benefit amphibians.
Important decisions are made every day on management and policy that affect multiple wildlife species. ARMI works with its partners in Federal and State agencies to develop processes for structuring their natural resource decisions to achieve their conservation objectives related to amphibians.
ARMI Papers & Reports on Management
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A continuum of risk tolerance: Reintroductions of toads in the Rockies
Authors: Muths E, Wright FB, Bailey LL | Outlet: book - Susan Walls | Format: .PDF
Success in reintroducing amphibians may be more context- than detail-dependent such that a slavish adherence to protocol may not foster success better than a more intuitive approach. We provide two reintroduction case studies for boreal toads where the approach was different, but where both resulted in gains in understanding, including first estimates of survival for boreal toads from a reintroduced population. Given the effects of disease on amphibian populations and the potential for disease to remain in a system after extirpation, there is a need to restructure reintroduction guidelines. Maintaining populations on the landscape through reintroductions provides an opportunity for the development of resistance and may facilitate species persistence into the future. But to be effective, care in understanding the context of the reintroduction and a re-envisioning of guidelines is necessary.
Integrating amphibian movement studies across scales better informs conservation decisions
Authors: Bailey LL, Muths E | Date: 2019-07 | Outlet: Biological Conservation | Format: .PDF
Numerous papers have highlighted the need to integrate amphibian research and conservation across multiple scales. Despite this, most amphibian movement studies focus on a single level of organization (e.g., local population) and a single life stage (e.g., adults) and many suggest potential conservation actions or imply that the information is useful to conservation, yet these presumptions are rarely clarified or tested. Movement studies to date provide little information to guide conservation decisions directly because they fail to integrate movement across scales with individual or population parameters (i.e., fitness metrics); this is exacerbated by a general failure to set movement studies in a probabilistic context. An integrative approach allows prediction of population or metapopulation responses to environmental changes and different management actions, thus directly informing conservation decisions and ‘moving the needle’ towards an informed application of conservation actions. To support this perspective we: 1) revisit reviews of amphibian movement to illustrate the focus on single scales and to underscore the importance of movement – at all scales – to conservation; 2) make the case that movement, breeding, and other demographic probabilities are intertwined and studies executed at different temporal and spatial scales can aid in understanding species’ responses to varying environmental and/or management conditions; 3) identify limitations of existing movement-related research to predict conservation action outcomes and inform decision-making; and 4) highlight under-utilized quantitative approaches that facilitate research that either connects movement to fitness metrics (individual-level studies) or estimates population and metapopulation vital rates in addition to, or associated with, movement probabilities.
A three-pipe problem: dealing with complexity to halt amphibian declines
Authors: Converse S, Grant EHC | Outlet: Biological Conservation
Natural resource managers are increasingly faced with threats to managed ecosystems that are largely outside of their control. Examples include land development, climate change, invasive species, and emerging infectious diseases. All of these are characterized by large uncertainties in timing, magnitude, and effects on species. In many cases, the conservation of species will only be possible through concerted action on the limited elements of the system that managers can control. However, before an action is taken, a manager must decide how to act, which is ? if done well ? not easy. In addition to dealing with uncertainty, managers must balance multiple potentially competing objectives, often in cases when the management actions available to them are limited. Guidance in making these types of challenging decisions can be found in the practice known as decision analysis. We demonstrate how using a decision-analytic approach to frame decisions can help identify and address impediments to improved conservation decision making. We demonstrate the application of decision analysis to two high-elevation amphibian species. An inadequate focus on the decision-making process, and an assumption that scientific information is adequate to solve conservation problems, must be overcome to advance the conservation of amphibians and other highly threatened taxa.