, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 70–81 | Cite as

Evaluating vernal pools as a basis for conservation strategies: A maine case study

  • Aram J. K. Calhoun
  • Tracey E. Walls
  • Sally S. Stockwell
  • Mark McCollough


Vernal pools in northeastern North America are typically seasonal woodland pools that support breeding populations of amphibians and invertebrates dependent upon fishless environments for successful reproduction. A survey of 304 vernal pools in southern, central, and northern Maine, USA was conducted to assess pool physical characteristics, landscape setting, and presence of pool-breeding amphibians for the purpose of guiding potential pool conservation strategies. In particular, information on reproductive effort by pool-breeding amphibians was used to assess the statewide applicability of the Maine Natural Resources Protection Act’s proposed definition of Significant Vernal Pool, a category of Significant Wildlife Habitats that allows closer environmental review of proposed impacts to vernal pools. The results of our study show regional differences in pool characteristics and amphibian usage. Defining “significance” based on number of egg masses and diversity of vernal pool indicator species is a useful tool but should be considered in the context of such landscape characteristics as availability of suitable terrestrial habitat and distribution of other breeding habitats and wetlands.

Key Words

vernal pools isolated wetland wetland conservation amphibians conservation planning 


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aram J. K. Calhoun
    • 1
  • Tracey E. Walls
    • 1
  • Sally S. Stockwell
    • 2
  • Mark McCollough
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Plant, Soil, and Environmental SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA
  2. 2.Maine Audubon SocietyFalmouthUSA
  3. 3.Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and WildlifeBangorUSA

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