How does agricultural land management influence connectivity and habitat for herpetofauna?

Mitigating the negative impacts of agricultural activities on herpetofauna (frogs and reptiles) requires knowledge of how different agricultural land uses affect species distribution and composition. To address this challenge, I examined how four different agricultural land use types (linear plantings, cereal crops, paddocks, and woody mulch application to bare crop paddock) and crop harvesting influenced herpetofauna abundance, richness, body condition, movement and predation risk collected from direct trapping, radio-tracking, fluorescent powder tracking, wildlife cameras and plasticine models. My findings expand on known agricultural matrix use of herpetofauna in mixed cropping systems and suggests farmland provides habitat and functional connectivity for herpetofauna, but not uniformly for all species. My study highlights the substantial challenges facing herpetofauna populations as land use intensifies and opportunities for conservation in agroecosystems.

About the speaker

Nicole is an ecologist with an environmental industry, government and research background, a career focused on conservation biology and agri-environment restoration, with extensive experience in applied ecological research and policy. Her current research interests have matrix ecology and conservation as a central theme, with a focus on how patch-dependent species, particularly herpetofauna, respond to habitat fragmentation in agricultural landscapes.