SREL Reprint #2705




Terrestrial habitat: A vital component for herpetofauna of isolated wetlands

J. Whitfield Gibbons

University of Georgia, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken, SC 29802, USA

Abstract: A wetland ecosystem, no matter how small or isolated, includes biotic and abiotic features that interact to promote biodiversity at larger landscape scales. Isolated wetlands, in particular, harbor a significant portion of regional fauna and are often critical habitats for maintaining herpetofaunal biodiversity in southern wetlands. Long-term research on isolated wetlands reveals that two terrestrial habitats contiguous with the wetland—the terrestrial periphery and terrestrial corridors that connect isolated wetlands—are vital for much of the animal community. The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the SWANCC decision has severely threatened the continued existence of such wetlands and their associated animals. Recognition that terrestrial habitats associated with isolated wetlands are essential elements for enhancing biodiversity could gamer support from regulators, resource managers, and the general public in strengthening wetlands protection.

Keywords: amphibian, herpetofauna, isolated wetland, reptile, SWANCC, terrestrial corridor

SREL Reprint #2705

Gibbons, J. W. 2003. Terrestrial habitat: A vital component for herpetofauna of isolated wetlands. Wetlands 23: 630-635.

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