AmphibiaWeb provides information on amphibian declines, natural history, conservation, and taxonomy.

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Ambystoma maculatum | Spotted Salamander

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With over 40% of amphibians threatened with extinction, most conservation actions for amphibians are reactive, which is often costly and prone to challenges that limit the chances of full recovery. Sterrett et al. (2019) outlined a framework for proactively managing amphibian population aimed at ‘keeping common species common’ in ways that minimize costs but maximize the probability of maintaining populations and species. A challenge of developing management plans for common species is that they are considered stable until proven otherwise, usually when an observed or presumed dramatic decline inevitably precipitates reactive management. Their framework for proactive amphibian management before a species is in decline or crisis includes reducing human impacts, implementing harvest quotas, preventing novel threats like contaminants or invasive species, modifying habitat to increase population resilience, and augmenting existing populations. Under this framework, gathering data on species ranges, habitat associations, abiotic requirements and sensitivities, and using data from closely related species can help predict species impact in different future scenarios. They suggest further research on status assessments, developing alternative management plans without necessarily understanding existing threats, and producing predictive models to understand possible future costs of delaying management would help proactively mitigate declines in common species. While their framework components may not be unique, working within these guidelines may help stymie the extinction crisis facing amphibians.

Current number of amphibian species: 8,099 (Oct 21, 2019) Newly added species