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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Preventing livestock access enhances suitability of man-made ponds for breeding amphibians in agricultural areas in Houston and Winona counties, Minnesota, USA

Published source details

Knutson M.G., Richardson W.B., Reineke D.M., Gray B.R., Parmelee J.R. & Weick S.E. (2004) Agricultural ponds support amphibian populations. Ecological Applications, 14, 669-684

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Create ponds for amphibians Amphibian Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2000–2001 of 30 created ponds within agricultural landscapes in southeastern Minnesota, USA (Knutson et al. 2004) found that nine amphibian species reproduced in created ponds. Blue-spotted salamander Ambystoma laterale only reproduced in one of the natural ponds. Ponds surrounded by crops had similar species richness and reproductive success as natural ponds surrounded by non-grazed pasture. Ponds used for watering livestock tended to have lower amphibian reproductive success, compared to those with no livestock. Species richness was highest in small ponds without fish. Amphibian reproductive success was highest in ponds with less emergent vegetation and no fish. Thirty created and 10 natural ponds were randomly selected. The 30 created ponds were classified based on adjacent land use: crops, grazed and non-grazed grassland. Other habitat characteristics were recorded. Amphibians were monitored in April-August 2000–2001 by direct observations and larval dip-netting surveys.