A Simple Conservation Tool to Aid Restoration of Amphibians following High-Severity Wildfires: Use of PVC Pipes by Green Tree Frogs (Hyla cinerea) in Central Texas, USA

Date

2021-12-06

Authors

Suriyamongkol, Thanchira
Forks, Kaitlyn
Villamizar Gomez, Andrea
Wang, Hsiao-Hsuan
Grant, William E.
Forstner, Michael R. J.
Mali, Ivana

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Volume Title

Publisher

Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Abstract

Amphibians are the most threatened vertebrate class based on the IUCN Red List. Their decline has been linked to anthropogenic activities, with wildfires being among the most conspicuous agents of habitat alterations affecting native amphibians. In 2011, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history occurred in the Lost Pines ecoregion of central Texas, USA, burning 39% of the 34,400 ha forest and drastically decreasing available habitats for many native wildlife species, including the green tree frog (Hyla cinerea). We investigated use of PVC pipes as artificial refuges for green tree frogs in different habitats within this post-fire pine forest. We monitored green tree frog use of small (diameter 38.1-mm, 1.5 inch) and large (diameter 50.8-mm, 2 inch) pipes located adjacent to, and 5 m from, ponds in burned and unburned areas over a 5-month period. We caught 227 frogs, 101 (24 adults and 77 juveniles) in burned and 126 (61 adults, 63 juveniles, and 2 unknown) in unburned areas. A relationship between pipe use by adults and/or juveniles and pipe location in burned versus unburned areas was found, but pipe use by adults and/or juveniles and pipe size were independent. Pipe use by adults and/or juveniles and pipe size were also independent. Juveniles were more frequently observed in pipes located adjacent to ponds. Our results confirmed that PVC pipes merit consideration as a simple, inexpensive, conservation tool to aid in restoration of green tree frog populations after high-severity wildfires. Such artificial refuges may be particularly important for survival of juveniles in severely altered post-fire habitats.

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Keywords

amphibian, conservation, Hyla cinerea, post fire, wildfire, Biology

Citation

Suriyamongkol, T., Forks, K., Villamizar-Gomez, A., Wang, H. H., Grant, W. E., Forstner, M. R. J., & Mali, I. (2021). A simple conservation tool to aid restoration of amphibians following high-severity wildfires: Use of PVC pipes by green tree frogs (Hyla cinerea) in Central Texas, USA. Diversity, 13(12), 649.

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