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Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia Spotted Frog abundance

February 26, 2018

Livestock grazing is an important land use in the western USA and can have positive or negative effects on amphibians. Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) often use ponds that provide water for cattle. We conducted a long-term manipulative study on US Forest Service land in northeastern Oregon to determine the effects of full and partial exclosures that limited cattle access to ponds used by frogs. We found weak evidence of a short-term increase in abundance that did not differ between full and partial exclosures and that diminished with continuing exclusion of cattle. The benefit of exclosures was small relative to the overall decline in breeding numbers that we documented. This suggests that some protection can provide a short-term boost to populations.