New publication in collaboration with Il-Kook Park and Prof Daesik Park from Gangwon National University! Here, we highlight that the survival of Suweon treefrog populations is linked to non-fragmented rice paddy cover (as there is no natural habitat left). We also demonstrate that the presence of greenhouses and other infrastructures in rice paddy complexes has a significant negative impact on populations.
The Suweon treefrog (Dryophytes suweonensis) is threatened with habitat loss and most populations are under threat of extirpation. Over the last decades, sub-populations have become increasingly disconnected and specifically the density of paved roads has increased around the only site connecting northern and southern Seoul populations. We surveyed the locality in Hojobeol, Siheung, Republic of Korea to first confirm the decline in the number of sites where D. suweonensis was present. We then determined the remaining suitable habitat for D. suweonensis through a species distribution model.
Rice paddy cover and distance from the paved road are the most important factor defining suitable habitat for D. suweonensis. At this locality, uninterrupted rice paddies are a suitable habitat for the species when reaching at least 0.19 km2, with an average distance of 138 ± 93 m2 from the roads. We link the decrease in the number of sites where D. suweonensis is present with the decrease in rice paddy cover, generally replaced by localized infrastructures, greenhouses and habitat fragmentation. Rice paddies should remain connected over a large area for the protection of the remaining populations.
The PDF of the paper is available here.