The role of microhabitats in the desiccation and survival of amphibians in recently harvested oak-hickory forest

  • Published source details Rittenhouse T.A.G., Harper E.B., Rehard L.E. & Semlitsch R.D. (2008) The role of microhabitats in the desiccation and survival of amphibians in recently harvested oak-hickory forest. Copeia, 2008, 807–814.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Leave coarse woody debris in forests

Action Link
Amphibian Conservation
  1. Leave coarse woody debris in forests

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2005–2006 of microhabitats within clearcut oak–hickory forest in Missouri, USA (Rittenhouse et al. 2008) found that survival rates of juvenile amphibians were significantly higher within piles of woody debris than within open areas in clearcut forest (0.9 vs 0.2). Survival within clearcut brushpile was similar to that within unharvested sites (0.9). The proportion of water loss from animals was lower within woody debris than open areas for American toads Anaxyrus americanus (0.2–0.3 vs 0.3–0.6), green frogs Lithobates clamitans (0.2–0.4 vs. 0.6–0.7) and wood frogs Lithobates sylvaticus (0.1–0.4 vs 0.6–0.7). Water loss in unharvested sites was 0.2–0.4, 0.2–0.3 and 0.1 respectively. Open habitat and piles of coarse woody debris were selected within two clearcuts, where tree crowns had been retained during harvest in 2004. Unharvested forest was used as a reference. Captive-reared American toad and wood frog juveniles and wild-caught green frog metamorphs were placed in individual enclosures within treatments. There were four replicates. Animals were weighed every six hours for 24 hours.


    (Summarised by: Rebecca K Smith)

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 19

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