Amphibian conservation science describes and explains observed declines, but provides little in the way of mitigation strategies. To halt or reverse declines, a shift towards focused research that informs conservation action is necessary. A Special Issue in the journal Biological Conservation shows how this goal can be achieved.
The Special Issue (‘Amphibians in the Anthropocene’) acknowledges the fact that even after decades of research, we have not substantially halted or reversed amphibian declines, but takes a hopeful view, showcasing conservation science that emphasizes mitigation and research applications. Despite much bad news, we know that some local actions are effective and this special issue stresses the importance of targeted research and the field trialing of mitigation measures at meaningful scales. We open the Issue by describing amphibians as a conservation dilemma and make a case for a more solutions-focused and pragmatic approach to conservation research, a suggestion that is relevant to many of the other creatures facing extinction in the Anthropocene. Authors include scientists from academia and government in Australia, Europe, and North America who were invited because of specific expertise in on-the-ground conservation. Papers were reviewed by scientific experts and by managers, so that not only scientific rigor, but also the feasibility of application was considered for each paper.
The contributions to the special issue cover a wide range of topics. A series of papers discusses approaches to population management, but focuses on specifics that are relevant to current challenges, e.g., managing before species decline; incorporating measures of uncertainty; managing translocated populations adaptively; and managing habitats at a broad scale within a metapopulation. Two other papers focus on the impacts of roads on demography and potential mitigation strategies for those impacts. There are papers on new mitigation methods for disease, the application of evidence-based conservation, and the implementation of probability-based dispersal ecology.
In conjunction with the publication of this Special Issue there will be a at the 9thWorld Congress of Herpetology, Amphibian conservation in the Anthropocene – challenges, priorities and solutions for the human epoch. This symposium will include similarly focused talks. The symposium will be novel in that it will include a guided discussion with the aim to engage the audience and speakers in developing a list of conservation priorities.
The collaborative editorial team for the special issue was Evan H. Campbell Grant, U.S. Geological Survey – Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, SO Conte Anadromous Fish Research Lab, 1 Migratory Way, Turners Falls, MA 01376, United States of America. ph: 413-863-3823 email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Benedikt R. Schmidt, Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies University of Zurich Winterthurerstrasse 1908057 Zurich, Switzerland and Info Fauna Karch, UniMail, Bâtiment G, Bellevaux 51, 2000 Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Silviu Petrovan, Conservation Science Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge The David Attenborough Building, Cambridge CB2 3QZ, UK and Froglife, 1 Loxley, Werrington, Peterborough, PE4 5BW, UK; and Erin Muths, U.S. Geological Survey – Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative, Fort Collins Science Center, 2150 Centre Ave. Bldg C, Fort Collins, CO 80526. Erin Muths and Evan Grant will be leading the symposium at the World Congress in Dunedin.