Academia Environment

Surrogate Species: Beavers help Frogs and Toads survive

Researches at the U of Alberta have found that significantly more frogs & toads (5.7 more new wood frogs [Rana sylvatica], 29 times more western toads [Bufo boreas] and 24 times more boreal chorus frogs [Pseudacris maculata]) could be found in the ponds created behind beaver (Castor canadensis) dams when compared to nearby free-flowing bodies of water. Reasons for the amphibian’s success are suggested as the warmer, well-oxygenated water that is created in the new beaver pond habitat.

Dr. Cindy Paszkowski, one of the researchers suggests that:

“The concept of surrogate species in conservation planning offers simple, ecologically-based solutions to help conserve and manage ecosystems”

So, rather than seeing as being pests blocking culverts (the role that beavers are increasingly cast), these rodents can now be seen as important (integral?) to the success of amphibian populations.

Link: Beavers Helping Frogs And Toads Survive

More reading: Recent article from Biodiversity and Conservation on assessing the effectiveness of surrogate species approaches to biological conservation [PDF alert]

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