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Patch and landscape characteristics associated with the distribution of woodland amphibians in an agricultural fragmented landscape: an information-theoretic approach



Patch and landscape characteristics associated with the distribution of woodland amphibians in an agricultural fragmented landscape: an information-theoretic approach



Biological Conservation 1153: 443-450



In the Midwestern United States, agricultural landscapes with scattered patches of fragmented forest are common. To investigate the relationship between amphibian distributions and wetland, woodlot, and landscape characteristics, we studied the pond-breeding amphibians within a 15,450-ha plot in rural north-central Ohio. We surveyed 25 woodlots and one area of continuous riparian forest for amphibians, and each surveyed woodland contained at least one temporary wetland. We used Akaike's Information Criterion (AIC) to evaluate the effectiveness of 13 a priori models in predicting total amphibian species richness, anuran richness, caudate richness, and the presence of individual species in woodlots. We identified 13 species of amphibians within the study plot, and every woodlot contained at least one amphibian species. The most important variable in predicting total amphibian and anuran species richness was hydroperiod. For caudates, woodlot edge-to-area ratio, hydroperiod, pH, and ammonia were important characteristics in predicting species richness. Woodlots within agricultural landscapes are important refuges for amphibians.

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