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Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia Spotted Frog abundance


Livestock grazing is an important land use in the western USA and can have positive or negative effects on amphibians. Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) often use ponds that provide water for cattle. We conducted a long-term manipulative study on US Forest Service land in northeastern Oregon to determine the effects of full and partial exclosures that limited cattle access to ponds used by frogs. We found weak evidence of a short-term increase in abundance that did not differ between full and partial exclosures and that diminished with continuing exclusion of cattle. The benefit of exclosures was small relative to the overall decline in breeding numbers that we documented. This suggests that some protection can provide a short-term boost to populations.

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We thank A. Kuehl, S. Lisle, M. Hall, W. Frye, R. Estes, and the staff at the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest for logistical support, fence construction, and assistance identifying study sites. We thank J. Alexander and members of the Eastern Oregon Miners and Prospectors for their interest and cooperation in the use of ponds. This study was funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and the U.S. Geological Survey’s Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative. Work was done under scientific collecting permits from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and animal care approval by Oregon State University. This is product number 622 of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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Correspondence to Michael J. Adams.

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Adams, M.J., Pearl, C.A., Chambert, T. et al. Effect of cattle exclosures on Columbia Spotted Frog abundance. Wetlands Ecol Manage 26, 627–634 (2018).

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  • Amphibian
  • Experiment
  • Grazing
  • Pond
  • Rana luteiventris