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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Differential responses of postmetamorphic amphibians to cattle grazing in wetlands

Published source details

Burton E.C., Gray M.J., Schmutzer A.C. & Miller DebraL. (2009) Differential responses of postmetamorphic amphibians to cattle grazing in wetlands. Journal of Wildlife Management, 73, 269-277


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Exclude domestic animals or wild hogs by fencing Amphibian Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 2005–2006 of eight farm ponds in Tennessee, USA (Burton et al. 2009) found that the effects of excluding cattle from ponds depended on amphibian species. There was no significant difference in captures or egg mass abundance for 12 species. However, significantly higher numbers of green frog Rana clamitans metamorphs were captured at exclusion ponds compared to those with cattle grazing (0.06–0.10 vs 0.01–0.03 relative captures/day). The opposite was true for American toads Bufo americanus (0 vs 0.01–0.03). Length and/or mass were significantly greater at exclusion ponds for one and grazed ponds for four species. Four ponds had been exposed to grazing (132 cattle/pond ha/month) and four fenced to prevent grazing for 10 years. Ponds were 0.1–1.0 ha and within similar habitat. Amphibians were monitored using pitfall traps both sides of drift fencing enclosing half of each pond. Traps were set for two days/week in March–August 2005–2006. Weekly egg mass counts were also undertaken along transects.