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Amphibian diversity in farmlands: Combined influences of breeding-site and landscape attributes in western France

Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Abstract

Agricultural intensification is responsible for major habitat degradation and is a primary cause of biodiversity loss. Amphibians are currently facing a global decline induced by multiple pressures, including notably habitat degradation and land conversion. In western Europe, traditional farming systems involve a dense hedgerow network with a mosaic of pastures, cultivated fields, ponds, and small woods. These heterogeneous landscapes are particularly favorable for biodiversity but their role for amphibian conservation remain understudied. We studied the amphibian community (15 species) of a hedgerow network landscape in western France. We described 79 cattle ponds and tested the influence of ponds characteristics as well as the surrounding landscape composition on species occurrence. Amphibian diversity was positively influenced by breeding site vegetation and also ponds density in the surrounding landscape. We also found positive effects of wood patches and hedgerow linear at a small spatial scale. In turn, crop cover and road linear negatively influenced amphibian richness at large spatial scale. Important variation were detected among species reflecting contrasted life history traits. Our results underline that traditional pastoral landscapes provide a high density of breeding sites and habitats favorable for a diversity of amphibian species.

Author(s): Boissinot, A; Besnard, A; Lourdais, O

Journal: Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment

Year: 2019

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