Amphibians in a human-dominated landscape: the community structure is related to habitat features and isolation
We studied amphibian populations in a human-dominated landscape, in Northern Italy, to evaluate the effects of patch quality and isolation on each species distribution and community structure. We used logistic and linear multiple regression to relate amphibian presence during the breeding season in 84 wetlands to wetland features and isolation. Jackknife procedure was used to evaluate predictive capability of the models. Again, we tested the response of each species to habitat features related to the richest communities. Amphibian presence depends strongly on habitat quality and isolation: the richest communities live in fish-free, sunny wetlands near to occupied wetlands. The negative effects of isolation do not seem to be biased by spatial autocorrelation of habitat features. The system shows strong nestedness: amphibian persistence depends on the contemporary effects of species adaptability and mobility. The commonest species, the pool frog (Rana synklepton esculenta) and the Italian tree frog (Hyla intermedia), are able to move through the matrix using canals and hedgerows, and can maintain metapopulations across the landscape; the rarest species (newts and toads) are more sensitive to habitat alteration, and they are strongly affected by isolation effects. If human exploitation of the landscape continues, only few species, mobile and opportunistic, will persist in this landscape. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Author(s): Ficetola, GF; De Bernardi, F
Journal: Biological Conservation