Public Library of Science
Understanding the response of species with differing life-history traits to habitat edges and habitat conversion helps predict their likelihood of persistence across changing landscape. In Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, we evaluated frog richness and abundance by breeding guild at four distances from the edge of a reserve: i) 200 m inside the forest, ii) 50 m inside the forest, iii) at the forest edge, and iv) 50 m inside three different converted habitats (coffee plantation, non-native Eucalyptus plantation, and abandoned pastures, hereafter matrix types). By sampling a dry and a wet season, we recorded 622 individual frogs representing 29 species, of which three were undescribed. Breeding guild (i.e. bromeliad, leaf-litter, and water-body breeders) was the most important variable explaining frog distributions in relation to edge effects and matrix types. Leaf-litter and bromeliad breeders decreased in richness and abundance from the forest interior toward the matrix habitats. Water-body breeders increased in richness toward the matrix and remained relatively stable in abundance across distances. Number of large trees (i.e. DBH > 15 cm) and bromeliads best explained frog richness and abundance across distances. Twenty species found in the interior of the forest were not found in any matrix habitat. Richness and abundance across breeding guilds were higher in the rainy season but frog distributions were similar across the four distances in the two seasons. Across matrix types, leaf-litter species primarily used Eucalyptus plantations, whereas water-body species primarily used coffee plantations. Bromeliad breeders were not found inside any matrix habitat. Our study highlights the importance of primary forest for bromeliad and leaf-litter breeders. We propose that water-body breeders use edge and matrix habitats to reach breeding habitats along the valleys. Including life-history characteristics, such as breeding guild, can improve predictions of frog distributions in response to edge effect and matrix types, and can guide more effective management and conservation actions.
Ferreira, R.B., K.H. Beard, and M. Crump. 2016. Breeding guilds determine frog response to edge effects in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. PLoS ONE. 10(12):e0142893