[vc_row][vc_column width=”2/3″][custom_headline type=”left” level=”h1″ looks_like=”h1″]About the Book[/custom_headline][text_output]Amphibian Conservation is the fourth volume in the Synopses of Conservation Evidence series, linked to the online resource www.conservationevidence.com.
This synopsis is part of the Conservation Evidence project and provides a useful resource for conservationists. It forms part of a series designed to promote a more evidence-based approach to biodiversity conservation. Others in the series include Bee, Bird, Farmland and Bat Conservation and many others are in preparation. The series will cover different species groups and habitats, gradually building into a comprehensive summary of evidence on the effects of conservation interventions for all biodiversity throughout the world.
This book brings together and summarizes the available scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of amphibians. The authors consulted an international group of amphibian experts and conservationists to develop a global list of interventions that could benefit amphibians.
For each intervention, the book summarizes studies captured by the Conservation Evidence project, where that intervention has been tested and its effects on amphibians quantified. The result is a thorough summary of what is known, or not known, about the effectiveness of amphibian conservation actions across the world.
To order a copy of the book, please visit Pelagic Publishing.
Rebecca K. Smith is a Research Associate in the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, UK.
William J. Sutherland is the Miriam Rothschild Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Cambridge, UK.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″]
The strengths of the book are its extensive coverage of the major threats to amphibians, e.g., habitat modification, invasive species, pollution, disease, and invasive species. In my area of expertise – probiotic methods for disease mitigation – the literature review was up to date and extensive. The summaries are helpful, and they are followed by expanded information. The complexity of interventions is highlighted, for example the same intervention might have a positive or a negative effect, depending on the study. Along these lines, it would have been helpful to have more critical syntheses and statements of general principles. I know there are no easy answers, but I was left wondering if these omissions were by design or whether there is not enough information to provide critical analyses. Also, the next step would be more emphasis on interventions aimed at ameliorating multiple threats, since amphibians face multiple threats. As a minor point, some phrases, e.g, “gully pots and kerbs”, will be unfamiliar to readers in the USA.
In sum, this book is a goldmine of information that will set the standard for providing evidence for decision-making that is designed to save species.[/accordion_item][accordion_item title=”Lindsay Renick Mayer”]All around the world, conservationists have watched as their favorite frog species have vanished before them. Sometimes the observations are merely anecdotal, but amphibian conservation in recent history is evolving from academically documenting the declines to seeking effective methods to neutralize a complex array of threats. If there’s one thing the latest installment of Pelagic Publishing’s Synopses of Conservation Evidence series reveals, it’s that amphibian conservationists hoping to stem the tide of decline are going to have to expand the breadth of their work—and fast.
Amphibian Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions is the fourth volume in a series aimed at summarizing “scientific evidence relevant to your conservation objectives and the actions you could take to achieve them.” The book’s intended audience includes land managers, conservationists, farmers, policymakers, researchers and activists. Authors Rebecca K. Smith and William J. Sutherland have done an impressive job bringing together the results of 416 studies related to 107 different conservation interventions of a variety of threats to amphibians, ranging from agriculture and energy production to disease and climate change.
The book is a useful reference tool (not meant to be read cover-to-cover), one that directs readers to specific studies that may be of interest to them based on whatever threat they’re addressing or intervention they’re trying. This collection of studies’ results, however, won’t necessarily help guide a conservationist, land manager or policymaker in specific ways to mitigate their own unique conservation challenges.
For example, if I’m a farmer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the United States and I’m interested in how Eastern tiger salamander populations have responded to restoring the hydrology of streams that have been ditched, there’s no way for me to enter the book as a kind of “choose your own adventure,” particular to that set of circumstances. The book compiles the information, but doesn’t necessarily derive meaning from the synthesis—that’s left to the reader to decide, even if it means going back to the studies cited throughout the book. In addition, for every intervention that was successful in one study, the book provides examples of studies in which that same intervention was unsuccessful, without analyzing how the two studies differed.
Smith and Sutherland make it clear from the start that their book doesn’t set out to provide recommendations for conservation challenges. But what is clear is that even if Amphibian Conservation had been written to give recommendations, it appears there are still many questions left unanswered in the scientific community about a number of important interventions. It is telling, for example, that the book dedicates just a single page to interventions related to energy and mining. This reflects either how little has been published about methods to prevent the booming industry of energy development (including renewable) from threatening amphibians or how little research has been done on the success of those methods.
Where Smith and Sutherland’s work will be most useful is online: new pieces of research on the effects of conservation management interventions are published in an online, open-access journal Conservation Evidence. The website turns the book into a living document that will evolve as it is updated and that will continue to reveal which interventions need more research.
Amphibian Conservation is a call to action, albeit indirect. It is the kind of synthesis that, if used correctly, can help ensure that conservationists aren’t watching their favorite species go extinct, but instead effectively coming to their rescue.[/accordion_item][accordion_item title=”Katy Upton”]Amphibians are declining on a global basis with up to a third of species threatened with extinction. With scarce and limited resources conservation of amphibians has never been so important. Our understanding of the threats amphibians face is rapidly improving from collection for the pet trade to climate change amphibians are being battered from every angle and really need some help!
This book provides a vital summary of available scientific evidence relevant to the conservation of amphibians. All of the interventions referenced in this book have been tested and the effects quantified. What is presented is a detailed explanation of those interventions that have worked or not worked, and what is known and not known about the effectiveness of amphibian conservation worldwide.
This book starts with a very nice description of the Conservation Evidence Series a project being run to provide resources for conservationists. It has been designed to promote a more evidence-based approach to conservation. It also highlights where the evidence came from and how you yourself can access all that they have used to put this book together. It also gives details of the website where you can download an electronic copy of the book and search through the chapters and evidence online. (www.conservationevidence.com)
This book is split into fourteen chapters and each one covers a specific threat currently facing amphibians. Starting with a key message explaining the threat and interventions used each section then describes what was done in each situation and the outcomes. At the end of each section the references are listed enabling the reader to easily and quickly find the reference if they wish to read more. This book can be referred to as often as you need reading sections and chapters as and when. You do not need to read the whole book to understand only those sections relevant to your species site or habitat each chapter is self-contained only occasionally referring to more information in other chapters.
Not only can this book be used as evidence to support amphibian conservation it can also be used to identify gaps in our knowledge. Many sections state that no evidence was captured on the effects of particular interventions. For example in chapter 5 Threat: Biological resource use, section 5.1 Use amphibians sustainably and 5.4 Commercially breed amphibians for the pet trade. No evidence was found supporting these two interventions. However both are very likely to work, and are currently being used, yet we have little scientific evidence to prove their success.
The references used in this book are very extensive being drawn from, evidence already captured by the Conservation Evidence project, eighteen specialist journals, thirty general conservation journals, and keyword searches on the ISI Web of Science and Google Scholar. The evidence used had to fit two criteria; 1) there must have been an intervention carried out that conservationists would do and 2) the effects of the intervention must have been monitored quantitatively. Resulting in a very detailed summary backed up with quantifiable statistics.
This book is not one to read from cover to cover as it is very heavy with statistics and information (and very few pictures!). Yet it is very useful as a guide to potential solutions to some of the problems amphibians face. Every situation is unique and the same approach cannot always be used, however this book can offer ideas and show whether certain interventions work for similar species. It can be used to help guide decisions in response to certain threats, and can be used to back up those decisions. This book would make a very useful addition to the bookshelf of anyone interested or involved in amphibian conservation.
[/accordion_item][accordion_item title=”Nadia Jogee”]I have recently come to the end of my degree in Zoology at the University of Manchester where one of the key messages I had impressed upon me was the need for a change in the field of conservation biology. In the past conservationists would identify an endangered animal and work towards its protection and population growth. However, due to lack of empirical evidence regarding how best to protect a species researchers have often made little impact or inadvertently made a situation worst despite their best intentions. The response to this is that we need more evidence-based research directing conservationists towards best practice. Yet regardless of the simplicity of this answer many have continued to use outdated methods that are contrary to what new science is telling us. This may be because certain practices are second nature to most researchers and therefore never questioned or it may be that the data is overlooked or hard to find.
This is where Amphibian Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of intervention by Rebecca K. Smith and William J. Sutherland comes to the rescue of misdemeanors in research, a book I feel will become integral to the future of conserving amphibians through a refreshed proactive approach. The book covers a broad and diverse range of topics from habitat management to best practice in captive breeding and reintroduction. Each topics is found in a clear and easy to follow lay out initially bullet pointing the main ideas and then going on to give more in-depth detail describing the studies that support the main ideas. I was surprised to find that some methods commonly used in studies are in fact outdated or in some more worrying cases detrimental to amphibian health. For example, most studies use gloves whilst handling amphibians to minimize contamination and infection risk. In this review of the literature we can see that several studies have been performed looking at the effects of different gloves on the health of amphibians. This makes it much easier when designing experiments, with just a quick reference to the book you can find the information that will help you choose which gloves, if any, you should be using.
Amphibian Conservation really is a must read for anyone working in the field of conservation or for members of the public who would like to be more aware of the different issues affecting amphibians. From my own personal experience of reading the book I have discovered areas I had previously not thought about, but I’m now keen to read more into including the effects of controlled fires on amphibians populations. I also detected the clear sense that this book is only the beginning. There are areas not touched upon, not because the literature has been overlooked but because it simply isn’t out there. For young herpetologists like myself trying to design project proposals Amphibian Conservation is a great place to start in order to collect the information that is already out there, but to also find gaps in the literature that they may be able to fill. However, more than the book being an easy to follow review and guide to best practice it is a clear indication of the direction of conservation as a whole. A proactive approach based on clear evidence is desperately needed if amphibians are to be protected in the long term.[/accordion_item][accordion_item title=”Matthew Charnock”]Since entering my twenties and having eloquence follow suit, I’ve always preached a mantra that conservation work isn’t static in nature—it’s dynamic. And with any dynamicism, a resource to pry away at its contorted carapace, exposing its yet-to-be tapped potential must be obtained. A resource that is just as adaptable as it is ubiquitous—biotic life envelops our every move. A resource that not only can be utilized by the most affluent biologist, but also by the novice, ecocentric plot manager—as accessible and multifunctional as a Swiss army knife. Peagic Publishing’s most recent addition in its Synopses of Conservation Evidence Series, Amphibian Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions is the integrated cardinal compass on that Swiss army knife, guiding individuals toward a righteous, sustainable path.
The book represents the fourth installment in this series, aiming to connect the would-be land developer, conservationist, biologist, etc. to the ectothermic-fauna he or she interact with daily. And filled with an array of topical issues, clothed in a navigable fashion, Amphibian Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions is indeed a well dressed piece of emerald literature. But most importantly, it’s accessible to the masses. Authors Rebecca K. Smith and William J. Sutherland do a commendable job indexing and categorizing the copious amounts of qualitative research presented toward the reader—never once did I feel overwhelmed or misguided. Each environmentally sound title is then followed by its relevant, bulleted factoids. And if the reader is so inclined, he or she can then continue reading onward, eventually glancing over each pertain study.
From mitigating the crippling effects of chytridiomycosis to bypassing man’s infrastructure, aiding amphibian migration, citable studies can be found from cover-to-cover. But again, the book’s accessibility remains intact—you, as the reader, are left to tread your own path.
Amphibian Conservation: Global evidence for the effects of interventions isn’t attempting to reinvent the wheel, but it’s making it more aerodynamic—and therefore increasing its efficiency. So yes, ecocentic individual, purchase a copy; Kermit and his kin will thank you later.