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. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 73, 269-277.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Exclude or remove livestock from historically grazed freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Exclude domestic animals or wild hogs by fencing

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Exclude or remove livestock from historically grazed freshwater marshes

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2005–2006 at the edges of eight ponds in Tennessee, USA (Burton et al. 2009) found that ponds fenced to exclude cattle typically had taller vegetation with greater cover than ponds that remained grazed, but similar plant species richness. Exclusion ponds had significantly greater vegetation cover than grazed ponds in two of two years (exclusion: 42–45%; grazed: 25–30%), significantly taller vegetation, on average, in one of two years (for which exclusion: 73 cm; grazed: 42 cm), and significantly greater horizontal vegetation cover in one of two years (for which exclusion: 59%; grazed: 47%). In the other comparisons, there was no significant difference between exclusion and grazed ponds, but a strong trend towards greater cover. Total plant species richness never significantly differed between treatments (exclusion: 4.0–5.3 species/m2; grazed: 4.2–4.3 species/m2). Methods: In spring and summer 2005 and 2006, emergent vegetation was surveyed on the shoreline of eight small (<1.1 ha) farm ponds (one 1-m2 quadrat/pond/survey). Four ponds had been fenced to exclude cattle for >10 years. The other four ponds had been exposed to grazing (132 cattle/ha of wetland) continuously for >10 years.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Exclude domestic animals or wild hogs by fencing

    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.

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust