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When scientists began a pond-building campaign in Switzerland, all of the country's endangered frog species saw a “population explosion”. One species who have benefited the most is the European tree frog. Since 1999, the population numbers have quadrupled together with the areas where they can be found.
Even though protection laws for the newt, frog and toad are strong in Aargau (a canton in Switzerland), scientists wanted to see if habitat restoration could help their continually dropping numbers, Good News Network explains.
Back in 1999, a 20 year program was coordinated by the Aargau government, non-profits, volunteers and landholders. The plan included building 422 ponds across five regions of Aargau.
According to Good News Network, the majority of frogs need small ponds that naturally develop off the sides of the bends in slowly meandering rivers. Sadly this characteristic is declining in Switzerland’s high road/railway density and intensively managed farmland. However, of the eight endangered species monitored 52% increased their regional populations and 32% were stabilized.
“Habitat loss is one of the main problems, and just by addressing that we could see the difference it made, and begin the recovery of these species,” lead author of the study Dr. Helen Moor told BBC News. “The key message is that it pays to do something, even if it feels overwhelming.”
As a consequence of habitat loss, predators, who follow the frogs when they migrate, often occupy the few ponds still existing.
The scientists behind this program believe that building ponds can help restore amphibian populations in landscapes dominated by humans.