USDA Forest Service

Pacific Northwest Research Station

Pacific Northwest Research Station
333 SW First Ave.
Portland, OR 97204

(503) 808-2100

US Forest Service


News Releases: 2011

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For world’s imperiled amphibians, preservation assisted by bits and bytes

New Web portal serves as online knowledge bank aimed at bringing amphibians back from the brink

USDA Forest Service
Pacific Northwest Research Station

Portland, OR: November 21, 2011

Contact: Dede Olson, (541) 750-7373,

Media assistance: Yasmeen Sands, (360) 753-7716,

PORTLAND, Ore. November 21, 2011. The nearly 40 percent of the world’s amphibians currently at risk of extinction have new hope for survival in the form of a collaborative Web portal created by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station.

The portal, launched by station research ecologist Dede Olson, serves as an online forum for a global amphibian conservation working group and is helping to connect researchers and compile and disseminate their scientific experiences in new ways. The portal, “Climate Change and Herpetofauna,” is accessible online at

Populations of amphibians—like frogs and salamanders—are declining steadily around the world in response to such threats as disease, habitat loss, and pollution. Because these species straddle both aquatic and terrestrial environments and breathe through their permeable skin, they are especially vulnerable to changes in their environment and to variable climate patterns. The projected effects of a warming climate may push some species already at the upper limit of their environmental tolerance over the brink.

Recognizing the need for global connectivity to successfully address amphibian conservation, Olson worked with Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) to create the portal, which is now serving as an emerging hub for participatory research. PARC is a partnership of individuals dedicated to the conservation of amphibians and reptiles whose members come from all walks of life, including state and federal agencies, conservation organizations, museums, the pet industry, zoos, and herpetological organizations.

“Our group is working on what might be done at local scales to forestall the effects of climate variation, and this site plays a major role in that effort,” Olson said. “We want to move beyond trial-and-error conservation by stimulating scientific exchange on design studies and the development of standardized methods for monitoring the effectiveness of various solutions over time and around the world.”

The portal, which was launched this year, showcases selected novel management actions from around the world that address the climate-driven habitat stressors for amphibians. One emphasis of many of the actions featured involves retaining moisture on landscapes, through techniques such as artificially spraying terrestrial areas to keep them moist and using solar-powered water pumps to keep ponds from drying out.

Olson’s amphibian research is featured in the October 2011 issue of Science Findings, a monthly publication of the station. To read it online, visit


The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.

US Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Research Station
Last Modified: Monday,01August2016 at10:15:59CDT

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