Sodhi NS, D Bickford, AC Diesmos, TM Lee, LP Koh, BW Brook, CH Sekercioglu, CJA Bradshaw, 2008. Measuring the Meltdown: Drivers of Global Amphibian Extinction and Decline. PLoS ONE, 3(2): e1636 [free download]. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001636
Abstract – Habitat loss, climate change, over-exploitation, disease and other factors have been hypothesised in the global decline of amphibian biodiversity. However, the relative importance of and synergies among different drivers are still poorly understood. We present the largest global analysis of roughly 45% of known amphibians (2,583 species) to quantify the influences of life history, climate, human density and habitat loss on declines and extinction risk.
Multi-model Bayesian inference reveals that large amphibian species with small geographic range and pronounced seasonality in temperature and precipitation are most likely to be Red-Listed by IUCN. Elevated habitat loss and human densities are also correlated with high threat risk. Range size, habitat loss and more extreme seasonality in precipitation contributed to decline risk in the 2,454 species that declined between 1980 and 2004, compared to species that were stable (n = 1,545) or had increased (n = 28).
These empirical results show that amphibian species with restricted ranges should be urgently targeted for conservation.