Characterization of amphibian’s breeding sites in a karst environment, NE of Italy.
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Amphibians are the vertebrates’ animal class with the highest risk of extinction at the global level nowadays. The area of Montello, N-E of Italy, is highly valuable for its biodiversity. It includes 11 amphibians species, four of which vulnerable or endangered at the European or local level. This area is settled in the middle of a highly fragmented landscape in the Padan plain, where the human activities pose serious threats to nature. In order to increase the populations’ resilience of the vulnerable amphibian species the most valuable breeding sites should be protected. The main objective of this project is the identification of the ecological preferences of the species Triturus carnifex, Lissotriton vulgaris, Bombina variegata and Rana latastei in order to attune protection measures for their breeding sites in Montello area. This is done by collecting and analyzing environmental data (chemical, physical, biological and landscape features referred to the pools, including possible environmental human stressors) by means of spatial analysis (GIS model) and logistic regression. Former findings from other studies concerning sizes of the pools, water and terrestrial vegetation were confirmed. Furthermore wind patterns and road networks were found significantly related respectively with the distributions of Triturus carnifex and Bombina variegata. Eventually, recommendations concerning the way to increase connectivity with surrounding natural areas were provided accounting for species specific dispersal abilities and pioneer behaviours.