Amphibians can be an important component of forest biodiversity, but despite world-wide concerns for amphibian population declines and the possible role of amphibians as sensitive ecosystem indicators, there has been little evaluation of riparian reserves for these species in BC. As part of a riparian ecosystems study at UBC's Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, we have an opportunity to continue a project that was initially funded through FRBC and Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. In this study site there are 9 native species (and 1 introduced species, the green frog). We initiated the study in 1997 just prior to harvesting, and were fortunate to follow these populations until 2004. As amphibian populations can take several years to adjust to changes in their habitat through changes in reproduction and colonisation, it has been shown to take many years to see the results of forest harvest due to these lag effects (from studies in North Carolina primarily). Six sites were laid out, four of which received some harvesting in 1998 (2 clearcut to the stream bank, and 2 with 30 m riparian reserves), along with two control sites. These sites were sampled for amphibians using pitfall trap arrays, and mark-recapture techniques to estimate population sizes for all species. Over 5700 individual amphibians of nine species were uniquely marked at the six sites (tree frogs are not effectively captured in pitfalls). This design allowed for comparisons of the three treatments for amphibian numbers, sizes, movement rates, and species composition. Moreover, this provides for a baseline assessment of amphibian population dynamics and relative abundance in a secure site, for which there are no comparable data anywhere in BC. We propose to continue the evaluation of the rates of recovery on the four treated and two control sites at a less intensive schedule than previously.
Richardson, John S.. 2007. Long-term trends in amphibians in riparian reserves: are riparian reserves effective for their conservation?. Forest Investment Account (FIA) - Forest Science Program. Forest Investment Account Report. FIA2007MR320