Cities worldwide are expanding in area and human population, posing multiple challenges to amphibian populations, including habitat loss from removal of wetlands and terrestrial upland habitat, habitat fragmentation due to roads and the built environment, and habitat degradation from pollutants, extensive human use and introduced species.
We developed an eight-step urban amphibian conservation framework based on established monitoring, analytical methods and community engagement to enable amphibian conservation in a large urban centre. The framework outlines a process used to conserve biodiversity in a complex landuse and decision-making environment supported by a series of successive complementary modelling techniques to measure amphibian presence, priority habitat and functional connectivity.
We applied the framework in Calgary, Alberta, Canada to illustrate its potential. Here, urbanization has reduced wetlands by 90% and ecological knowledge on amphibians was poor. We improved knowledge on amphibian diversity and distribution, identified core wetlands and movement pathways for amphibian species and identified barriers in the wetland network where construction or restoration measures could re-establish amphibians or increase their densities. This knowledge was shared with ecologists and city planners for implementation through appropriate policies and plans.
Our framework provides a series of stepwise products to improve an urban municipality's ability to restore or conserve priority habitat and movement pathways necessary for amphibian survival under pressure from multiple land uses. The framework provides a platform to identify city plans, policy and or programmes and to derive necessary information to support amphibian conservation.
A Framework to Identify Priority Wetland Habitats and Movement Corridors for Urban Amphibian Conservation