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Proactive management of amphibians: Challenges and opportunities

Sean C. Sterrett, Rachel A. Katz, Adrianne B. Brand, William R. Fields, Andrew E. Dietrich, Daniel J. Hocking, Tasha M. Foreman, Amber N.M. Wiewel, Evan H. Campbell Grant
Biological conservation 2019 v.236 pp. 404-410
amphibians, conservation areas, cost effectiveness, decision making, extinction, risk
Delaying species management reduces the chance of successful recovery, increases the risk of extinction, and can be expensive. Acting before major declines are realized affords access to a greater suite of cost-effective management actions to sustain populations, reducing the likelihood of declines warranting protected status. It is clear that reactive management approaches are not sufficient for amphibian conservation and a successful path forward will require proactive approaches. We describe how conservation timelines and structured decision making can help evaluate management options available to species given current, and often limited, knowledge about populations or distributions. We illustrate this framework by highlighting science and management of common and widespread amphibians, as many species are in decline, including those found in protected conservation areas. Formal decision-making processes require the development of explicit management objectives, management triggers, and evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of actions before species' declines are observed. These steps guide the science needed to inform decisions.