IMPORTANCE OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS TO THE CONSERVATION AND RECOVERY OF THE CALIFORNIA TIGER SALAMANDER
|Karen E. Swaim; Swaim Biological; firstname.lastname@example.org; Leslie L. Koenig|
The California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense) continues to rapidly lose upland habitat critical to maintaining populations and connecting aquatic habitats that remain on the landscape in public and private lands. Agricultural lands, including those in low intensity use, are often dismissed as not having any significant value as upland and subsequently lost via conversion to development, including industrial scale solar projects, or less suitable higher intensity agricultural uses. Extensive data exists to document the continued use of refugia located in disturbed and agricultural lands, including those that are disked. In the face of climate change and with continued pressure for conversion, these lands will take on an increasingly important role in connecting lands protected for the salamander (or other pond breeding amphibians). Protecting only breeding sites and small areas of adjacent land is unlikely to provide long term viability to support populations. This results in establishment of preserves that do not have adequate upland habitat or lack connectivity to other breeding sites for recolonization if the site experiences extirpation. Recognition of the value of upland agricultural and disturbed lands and protection of these landscapes from conversion to less suitable uses will play an important role in conservation and recovery of the California tiger salamander.