In 1990 an international group of biologists, meeting to discuss rumors of declines in the number of amphibians, discovered that amphibian disappearances once thought to be a local problem were not—the problem was global. And, even more disturbing, amphibians were disappearing not just from areas settled by humans but from regions of the world once believed to be pristine. Under the mantle of the Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force, this timely book addresses three fundamental questions for the midwestern United States: are amphibians declining; if so, why; and, if so, what can be done to halt these losses?
In the Midwest—defined here as Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan—there can be no doubt that the number of salamanders and frogs has declined with Euro-American settlement and the conversion to an agriculturally dominated landscape. Habitat loss and landscape fragmentation have been major factors in this decline, as have aquacultural uses of natural wetlands. Bullfrog introductions have eliminated populations of native amphibians, and collecting for the biological supply trade has reduced the number of individuals within many populations. The goal of the forty-two essays in this well-documented, well-illustrated book is to put between two covers all we know now about the status of midwestern amphibians. By doing this, the editor has created a readily accessible historical record for future studies.
Organized into sections covering landscape patterns and biogeography, species status, regional and state status, diseases and toxins, conservation, and monitoring and applications, this landmark volume will serve as the foundation for amphibian conservation in the Midwest.