Public Release: 

Deforestation can have devastating impacts on frog populations


Increasingly, forests in Borneo, the world's third largest island, are being converted to plantations, which poses considerable threats to amphibians. If this continues unabated, almost three-quarters of the current forest is expected to disappear by 2100.

In a new study, investigators found that frog species richness declined with loss of canopy cover from primary forest to logged forest to plantation. On average, less than half of the primary forest species of frogs remained in oil palm plantations. Worst were young plantations with very low canopy cover--they retained only 20% of the possible regional primary forest frog species and a fraction of the individual numbers.

"The impact we observed for stream frogs in Borneo was similar to that found previously for birds and mammals," said Dr. Oliver Konopik, lead author of the Biotropica study. "The oil palm industrial monoculture is a primary forest frog's worst nightmare but could be mitigated in part by rigorously enforcing the creation of riparian buffer zones within plantations. Frogs play a central role in the forest food web and thus need to be protected."


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