Amphibian recovery after a decrease in acidic precipitation

Abstract

We here report the first sign of amphibian recovery after a strong decline due to acidic precipitation over many decades and peaking around 1980–90. In 2010, the pH level of ponds and small lakes in two heavily acidified areas in southwestern Scandinavia (Aust-Agder and Østfold in Norway) had risen significantly at an (arithmetic) average of 0.14 since 1988–89. Parallel with the general rise in pH, amphibians (Rana temporaria, R. arvalis, Bufo bufo, Lissotriton vulgaris, and Triturus cristatus) had become significantly more common: the frequency of amphibian localities rose from 33% to 49% (n = 115), and the average number of amphibian species per locality had risen from 0.51 to 0.88. In two other (reference) areas, one with better buffering capacity (Telemark, n = 21) and the other with much less input of acidic precipitation (Nord-Trøndelag, n = 106), there were no significant changes in pH or amphibians.

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Acknowledgements

The hydrochemical analyses, except pH, water colour and conductivity, were carried out by Syverin Lierhagen at the NTNU Department of Chemistry. Ole Kristian Berg performed the paired t test and Lars Rønning the Spearman correlation test. The map was made by Marc Daverdin, and Richard Binns has been the English language consultant.

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Correspondence to Dag Dolmen.

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Dolmen, D., Finstad, A.G. & Skei, J.K. Amphibian recovery after a decrease in acidic precipitation. Ambio 47, 355–367 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0988-5

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Keywords

  • Acidity
  • Amphibian decline
  • Habitat recovery
  • Scandinavia
  • Water chemistry