Species-Conservation-Strategies

Group Co-Chairs: Anne Baker & Sally Wren

ASG Secretariat Lead Contact: Helen Meredith (hmeredith[at]amphibians.org)

Vision

A world in which the conservation status of all described amphibian species is known, and effective conservation strategies are in place for all threatened species.

Goals

1.  To ensure all threatened amphibian species are covered by either national or range-wide conservation strategies, or conservation strategies at the level of biogeographic region;

2.  To develop the means/indicators by which the effectiveness of conservation strategies can be assessed;

3.  To ensure that all conservation strategies are developed using the established methods of the community of practice, to ensure attainment of desired conservation outcomes.

Inputs or assumptions

1.  That the ranges and conservation status of all amphibian species are accurately and currently known;

2.  That important amphibian biodiversity areas are identified;

3.  That priority areas in terms of increasing or novel threats are known.

Obstacles

1.  Basic information on distributions, ranges, population sizes, conservation status and threats for many species and regions is still lacking;

2.  The extent of uptake and effectiveness of existing conservation strategies need further assessment;

3.  Many priority amphibian species or biodiverse priority regions have no conservation strategies either for individual species or for their amphibian fauna;

4.  Increased pressure on natural resources (i.e. habitat destruction, fragmentation, accidental kills);

5.  Lack of funds, institutions, and trained staff.

Necessary actions

1.  Develop a small working group membership of those with global coverage of amphibian range, and regional representation;

2.  Map existing strategies to global amphibian knowledge and conservation priorities, hence identifying priority species / countries / regions where conservation strategies are missing;

3.  Contact relevant parties in priority countries / regions to promote the benefits of conservation planning for amphibian species, offering technical assistance on planning process and content for using established best practice;

4.  Involve the growing community of amphibian captive breeders and pet traders.

Current Priority Actions

Actions To Respond To Major Constraints To Effective ConservationMid-term Priorities (1–5 years)Short-term Targets (6–12 months)
1. KNOWLEDGE
1.1 Use existing information sources to identify priority species (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, AZE, Amphibian Ark Conservation Needs Assessment tool etc.) that need a species conservation strategy Refine priority species lists in terms of geographic coverage, national action plans etci. Identify top priorities for SCS using current information sources, using endangerment as standard criterion;

ii. Use all existing bodies, regional groups etc. to achieve this
1.2 Develop and apply prioritisation criteria based on more than level of species endangermentApply criteria to supplement 1.1Develop criteria
1.3 Develop an open-source online database that aggregates all existing strategies and plans in one placeContinue activities from short-termUse SCS WG members and any others to build up collection of existing amphibian SCS
1.5 Assess existing Action Plan successes and failures, and analyse causationQuantify and review amphibian action plan successes and failures and publish in an open-source documentDevelop a questionnaire designed to assess the successes and failures of Action Plan implementation, and send out to ASG members and other relevant stakeholders, using very simple template of questions, building on work underway
1.6 Promote local knowledge and awareness of amphibian species and their conservation needs and opportunitiesAccumulate cases and ensure lessons as models are proactively disseminated to other potential amphibian conservation partiesIdentify opportunities as in 5.5 and 5.6, to develop model cases of data acquisition at local level
1.7 Ensure climate change is included in conservation planning, and that its impact on defining conservation sites is well-recognised and heeded in all planningCollate case histories and lessons learned over amphibian conservation planning and climate change Build on existing assessment of amphibian vulnerability to climate change through engagement with the Climate Change Specialist Group, the Species Conservation Planning Sub-committee and others
1.8. Develop and improve the evidence-base for amphibian conservation interventions.Disseminate summarised amphibian conservation evidence (Amphibian Synopsis: Smith & Sutherland 2014) to all ASG members, raising awareness of justifications for evidence-based conservation, and the need for conservation scientists and practitioners to collaborate to publish conservation evidence studies. Request that members review the current list of publications collated in the Amphibian Synopsis, and contribute any evidence studies that have been missed (in any language). Highlight interventions/areas particularly in need of attention, and encourage ASG members to submit any unpublished evidence to the online Conservation Evidence journal and other publications.

Amphibian Synopsis:

Smith, R. K., and W. J. Sutherland. 2014. Amphibian conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions. Exeter, Pelagic Publishing.

Available at: www.conservationevidence.com/synopsis/download/13
Coordinate a Conservation Evidence sub-group to: recruit willing ASG members to promote the publication and dissemination of conservation evidence across the ASG, by region and/or specialist topic; assist the Conservation Evidence team at Cambridge University (www.ConservationEvidence.com) to regularly update the Amphibian Synopsis by contributing appropriate studies from ASG members and their colleagues; and support the development of conservation evidence research projects on a regional basis, especially in the tropics.
2. ACCESS AND PARTICIPATION
2.1 Develop the ASG Species Conservation Strategy Working group into an effective, active teamBuild on short-term activitiesi. Develop the Species Conservation strategy Working Group membership,

ii. Develop SCSWG membership into national / regional groups,

iii. Proactively increase awareness of the WG within ASG and other amphibian bodies
2.2 Widen the global audience of persons and institutions able and willing to participate in amphibian species conservationContinue with short-term activitiesi. Build on 2.1 to promote awareness of SCS WG activities amongst non-amphibian specialists or interested parties, both inside and outside IUCN, and assist and welcome their involvement; develop citizen-science opportunities

ii. Stimulate and encourage local-level initiatives
2.3 Provide technical knowledge and assistance to any party keen to help with amphibian conservation planningContinue with short-term activitiesMatch species planning priorities with identified suitable and keen local parties
3. PROCESS
3.1 Provide a model species conservation planning processUse amphibian species planning activities to contribute to developing SSC guidance on species planning,Ensure SSC Species Conservation Planning Sub-committee (SCPSC) planning approach is known and available
3.2 Encourage uptake of amphibian planning opportunities by diverse partiesUndertake at least 5 amphibian planning exercises annually from 2015Use SCPSC methodology in at least two amphibian planning exercises
3.3 Demystify amphibian conservation planning for non-specialistsContinue and build on short-term activitiesi. Assist citizen groups, non-exclusively amphibian interest groups / NGOs with expertise and encouragement to plan

ii. Promote planning approaches that are appropriate to each situation, are common-sense, resource-light but based on good information and rigorous thinking
3.4 Overcome lack of engagement and increase support from local stakeholders in the conservation of amphibiansi. Promote participatory approaches in the development of species and site action plans, to elicit buy-in from local stakeholders from the start.

ii. Build capacity of local conservationists to conduct simple ‘stakeholder mapping’ to understand their perspectives, interests, potential contribution, etc., and provide guidance on outreach and conflict resolution
In the analysis of action plan failures/ successes above, ensure questions address how the plan addressed stakeholders
4. CAPACITY AND RESOURCES
4.1 Using an internet-based system, develop a website for SCS WG to which any/all interested parties, in and outside IUCN, can be invited to join in the interest of species conservation planning Develop this skills and capacity resource base for coverage around all amphibians of conservation concernUse SCS WG members to identify organisations and individuals to develop species strategies based on priory species (above)
4.2 Improve collaboration between the various communities involvedEstablish a network with representatives from the different disciplines Identify and assign focal points for each technical discipline required in conservation planning for amphibians
4.3 Make available knowledge of potential resources for species planning that are not taxon specific, e.g. Species Conservation Strategy Handbook, and othersContinue development of resource base, including contributing to the development of amphibian-specific planning techniquesRaise awareness of available resources and support networks through articles in FrogLog and on the amphibians.org website, referring to the dedicated website (above), and targeting amphibian conservation parties both inside and outside IUCN
4.4 Increase availability and access to technical support to develop conservation plans to conservationists and amphibian researchersDevelop user-friendly guidelines on how to develop an amphibian species action plan; provide/ fund access to action plan facilitators and other technical advice to aid project design and implementationCollate and review existing tools for developing species action plans and managing conservation projects
4.5 Increase funding and other resources for the conservation of amphibian species and sitesDemonstrate that more amphibian conservation work has been funded, with funding from what sources, and the effectiveness of low-cost, local actionsi. Include this activity within 6.1;

ii. Demonstrate through model projects that much effective amphibian conservation can be done at low-cost
4.6 Promote awareness of funding opportunities and assist with proposal preparationEnsure all species action plans contain budgets and identify funding sourcesCollate and provide a checklist of funding sources for amphibian conservation
5. CONSERVATION
5.1 Increase management monitoring tools for amphibian sites conservationDevelop a ‘how to’ kit for species and site monitoring for amphibiansDevelop and improve efficiency management tools for amphibian sites conservation, using good practice
5.2 Expand active Long-Term Ecological Monitoring of amphibian populations and communities (similar to LTER in USA)Develop a network of amphibian LTEM sites worldwidei. Identify existing long-term studies and locations suitable for LTEM

ii. Design and agree on protocols, data sharing etc.
5.3 Promote planning and conservation actions in areas / protected areas that are important for amphibians but are of lesser priority on other criteria or for other taxaDevelop simple information packs for PA managers on the importance of amphibians and provide guidance on integrating amphibian conservation into the management of protected areas (including how to find out which threatened species are in their areas)Ensure staff from relevant protected areas are invited to participate in the development of species action plans
5.4 Promote and assist with effective long-term actions for amphibian conservation at national, local and community levelsContinue short-term actionsIdentify amphibian conservation opportunities and strategies where those responsible / keen to take action need assistance
5.5 Promote research and collection of basic information on amphibian species, especially in the tropicsContinue short-term actions, and ensure knowledge arising is stored and disseminated effectivelyEncourage research on lesser known species
6. POLICY AND PUBLIC RELATIONS
6.1 Increase awareness amongst publics, governments, policy-makers etc. of the ecological importance of amphibians and their habitats for human well-being, and hence increase support for their conservation Develop materials to educate decision makers on the importance of conservation strategies and seek access to them through strategic mediatorsi. Identify and enlist strategic partners that can act as mediators between ASA and decision-makers

ii. Develop documentation on the importance of species conservation strategies in different languages (perhaps start with IUCN’s three official languages)
6.2 Increase communication capability to effectively propose and implement a strategic plan and consequent amphibian conservation Build amphibian scientists’ capacity to communicate ideas and convey the need for conservation initiatives in simple and convincing ways, using expertise from others sectors as necessaryIdentify good communicators in the amphibian scientific community and ask to develop guidance documents on how to be an effective communicator
6.3 Increase awareness of areas of outstanding importance for amphibiansContinue short-term activities; consider merit of concept of ‘Important Amphibian Areas’Identify and promote protected areas of outstanding importance for amphibians
6.4 Ensure information on the species and context for implementation of the conservation strategy is available to stakeholders and local communities in any amphibian conservation effort, to ensure lasting collaborationDevelop outreach programmes for each species / site as desirableDevelop standard presentations and outreach materials that can later be adapted to suit specific species/sites, based on the analysis in 3.4