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Translocations of amphibians: Proven management method or experimental technique

April 1, 2002

In an otherwise excellent review of metapopulation dynamics in amphibians, Marsh and Trenham (2001) make the following provocative statements (emphasis added):

If isolation effects occur primarily in highly disturbed habitats, species translocations may be necessary to promote local and regional population persistence. Because most amphibians lack parental care, they areprime candidates for egg and larval translocations. Indeed, translocations have already proven successful for several species of amphibians.

Where populations are severely isolated, translocations into extinct subpopulations may be the best strategy to promote regional population persistence.

We take issue with these statements for a number of reasons. First, the authors fail to cite much of the relevant literature on species translocations in general and for amphibians in particular. Second, to those unfamiliar with current research in amphibian conservation biology, these comments might suggest that translocations are a proven management method. This is not the case, at least in most instances where translocations have been evaluated for an appropriate period of time. Finally, the authors fail to point out some of the negative aspects of species translocation as a management method. We realize that Marsh and Trenham's paper was not concerned primarily with translocations. However, because Marsh and Trenham (2001) made specific recommendations for conservation planners and managers (many of whom are not herpetologists or may not be familiar with the pertinent literature on amphibians), we believe that it is essential to point out that not all amphibian biologists are as comfortable with translocations as these authors appear to be. We especially urge caution about advocating potentially unproven techniques without a thorough review of available options.

Publication Year 2002
Title Translocations of amphibians: Proven management method or experimental technique
DOI 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.01275.x
Authors Richard A. Seigel, C. Kenneth Dodd
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Conservation Biology
Index ID 70161979
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Southeast Ecological Science Center