Evaluation of created wetlands as amphibian habitat on a reforested surface mine

Michaela Lambert, Andrea N. Drayer, Wendy Leuenberger, Steven J. Price, Christopher Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Wetlands created within disturbed landscapes may be an important key to restoring lost ecosystem functions. Reclaimed mines provide an opportunity to create wetlands and restore natural features within a disturbed landscape while benefiting amphibians, a taxa affected by habitat loss. A large-scale restoration effort within the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, USA has resulted in the creation of over 1400 small wetlands. We sampled 39 of these wetlands among four ages (2, 4, 6, and 8 years) to: 1) characterize differences in wetland habitat, 2) estimate amphibian occupancy and abundance, 3) identify wetland characteristics most important for amphibian utilization of wetlands. Mean wetland size, percent canopy cover, percent vegetation cover, distance to the nearest stream, and distance to the nearest forest varied significantly among wetland age classes. Water quality was within normal parameters for natural and created wetlands within our study region. Amphibian occupancy and abundance varied by species, with occupancy predicted by wetland age (Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans) and lower percent vegetation cover (Spotted Salamander, Ambystoma maculatum, L. clamitans) while abundance was predicted by wetland age (A. maculatum), higher percent vegetation cover (Eastern Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens), larger wetland surface area (A. maculatum, N. viridescens), and shorter distance to forest (N. viridescens). Our results indicate, with adequate site preparation, created wetlands on reforested surface mines provide suitable breeding habitat for pond breeding amphibians.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106386
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume171
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Abundance
  • Amphibian
  • Created wetland
  • Occupancy
  • Pond breeding amphibian
  • Reforestation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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