RAUK - Archived Forum - Threats - peer review

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Threats - peer review:

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Vicar
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Joined: 02 Sep 2004
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Posted: 12 Feb 2007
Folks,

I'm doing a top-down assessment of threats to (leading to priorities for action) reptiles and amphibians. Threats relating to population levels and good dispertion is where I think I'm heading.

Threats I have listed so far include:

Habitat Loss
    Lack of site management
    Building & construction
    Change of land use
    Arson
Other Human Impacts
    Persecution & collecting
    Road deaths
    Disturbance
    Pollution
Predation & competition
    Predation by Pets
    Predation by, and competition from introduced species
    Predation from native species (not addressing this one, clearly).

What have I missed ?? and how would people rate the relative degrees of threat in a quantitative manner?
   

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
arvensis
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Joined: 15 Mar 2006
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Posted: 12 Feb 2007
Steve,
        One other possible is disease such as 'Red Leg' in amphibians.  I'd imagine that the types of threat can vary from the area, such as urban sites etc.

Just a couple of thoughts, Mark

Hampshire Amphibian and Reptile Group.
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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Posted: 12 Feb 2007

Steve,

Maybe inappropriate site management might come in as well. This could be because it gives no thought to reps & amps at all as it is being done for some other reason e.g. birds or flora. Or it could be done at the wrong time of year. Or cattle/horse grazing as a mangement tool. I'm sure we've all got horror tales for some of these. Otherwise a good list.


Suz
GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 12 Feb 2007

You beat me to it Suzi, totally agree it should say 'inappropriate' site management. Else we will have land managers waving it under our noses saying 'it ses 'ear that no site management is the problem, soos we is gonna flatten the 'ole lot'

As for rating in a quantative manor, I think a site by site analysis would alter my ratings for each category.


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 12 Feb 2007

 

I feel that red leg disease is a threat locally but the overall picture would be that other diseases would be more of a threat - e.g. chritrid

 

Jon


Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
armata
Forum Specialist
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
No. of posts: 928


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Posted: 13 Feb 2007
INAPPROPRIATE MANAGEMANT YES, YES, AND THRICE YES!!
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
lalchitri
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Joined: 06 Jun 2006
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Posted: 14 Feb 2007
changing weather patterns?
due to the prolonged spell of hot weather last summer, two of my local ponds dried up completely, tadpoles and all.
i'm pretty sure one of the sites is not managed (though i suppose thats inappropriate in itself!)


lalchitri39127.1505092593
Reformed Teetotaller
Vicar
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Posted: 14 Feb 2007
Fair point Lalchitri,

I'm not sure if climate change is a good thing or a bad thing for native herps. So many are at the edge of their range here in the UK that global warming may actually help, although changing weather patterns may not.

I guess that apart from doing their bit, this one is largely beyond the influence of an ARG.

Thanks all for comments. Could people privide a few generic examples of threats? I'm reasonably clued up with impacts to reptiles, but not to amphibians. Any real-life examples of inappropriate management with amphibian impact to hand?

Steve Langham - Chairman    
Surrey Amphibian & Reptile Group (SARG).
Waterfrog
Member
Joined: 13 Feb 2005
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Posted: 14 Feb 2007

Perhaps another threat to amphibian habitats to be considered is the management of water supply -

ground water abstraction and lowering of water table can certainly result in ponds drying out.

 

Julia 


Julia
David Bird
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Joined: 17 Feb 2003
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Posted: 14 Feb 2007
Steve,
Fragmentation of large stable sites

Lack or loss of connectivity between sites

Garden refuse or garden pond clearance causing introduction of invasive alien plants i.e Japanese Knotweed, Australian Stonecrop.

Eutrophication on urban and heavily grazed sites causing a change in vegetation or loss of open sand.

Loss of particular important part of site i.e hibernacula or egg laying area, but rest of site looks ok

Dave
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
Caleb
Forum Coordinator
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448


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Posted: 15 Feb 2007
[QUOTE=Vicar]global warming may actually help, although changing weather patterns may not.
[/QUOTE]

Well, if the Gulf Stream slows down as a result, as some have suggested, the UK could actually end up a lot colder.

[QUOTE=Vicar] Any real-life examples of inappropriate management with amphibian impact to hand?
[/QUOTE]

In the 70s, lots of natterjack ponds were deepened (and permanent ponds were constructed) to make breeding sites more permanent, but this encouraged predators (e.g. beetle larvae) and increased competitivity of common toads.
armata
Forum Specialist
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 15 Feb 2007
In the 70s this was an effort to raise the water table; some natterjacks were trying to spawn in the sea.
This is now the well known infamous event when a certain person started digging out the slacks illegally I guess; but it was a frustrating time for such as the BHS Cons Comm then.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
David Bird
Forum Specialist
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 515


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Posted: 15 Feb 2007
The work on the Natterjack Toad by members of the B.H.S. conservation committee Natterjack sub committee is a perfect example of seeing science in action in conservation. Members included Trevor Beebee, John Buckley, Richard Griffiths,Brian Banks and Jonty Denton together with others. I know that a few mistakes were made but when it was seen that the results that were expected were not obtained experiments and observations were made to correct them and work out the reasons why. This was a learning process and science in action so the optimum shape, depth and orientation of the pond was found, the fact that the Natterjack was usually unable to compete with the Common Toad and the reasons why. The amount or more importantly the lack of surrounding scrub or ground vegetation in the terrestrial habitat to deter the Common Toad. A new type of parasite was even found that infected the tadpoles. All the work resulted in valid scientific papers unlike a lot of conservation publications some of which looks as though the ideas were written on the back of a postage stamp.
This all enabled reintroductions and positive management to go ahead with the maximum chance of success. It is a pity that similar work was not carried out with some of the reptiles by such a dedicated team of scientists with a lot of practical experience and open enquiring minds.

Dave
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.

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