Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Does legal site protection lead to improved conservation of ponds with fire-bellied toads Bombina bombina in Denmark?

Published source details

Fog K. & Wederkinch E. (2016) Does legal site protection lead to improved conservation of ponds with fire-bellied toads Bombina bombina in Denmark? Conservation Evidence, 13, 18-20

Summary

In Denmark, nature conservation in the middle of the twentieth century mainly involved protecting areas by legal declarations forbidding the destruction or degradation of the protected area. During the period 1946 to 1969, 22 sites with fire-bellied toads Bombina bombina were protected as single ponds, and 40 ponds with Bombina were protected as a part of larger protected landscapes. We evaluate the survival of Bombina populations in these protected ponds compared to 51 control ponds where Bombina was recorded in 1940-1955, but which were not protected. In all cases, survival of Bombina was low, and although protection may have delayed extinction, there is no clear evidence that it prevented extinction. There was a trend for better outcomes in the larger protected landscapes, but this may have been due to other causes, such as more cattle grazing. It is concluded that passive protection (legal protection without active management) is not effective, whereas the type of active approach that has been used increasingly since 1982 is more promising.