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Frog communities in fire-disturbed forests of the Peruvian Amazon

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Amphibian declines are a pressing global concern. The lowland rainforests of the south-eastern Amazon harbour exceptionally high amphibian diversity, but also face a range of threats including habitat modification caused by forest fires. In this study, we sampled amphibians in areas of forest in Madre de Dios, Peru, that were affected by anthropogenic fires following severe drought in 2005. Two forest types, bamboo and terra-firme, were assessed. Forty-two anuran species were recorded in 22 survey nights. Amphibian diversity and abundance were not significantly different in burned areas of either forest type, and amphibian community composition did not change significantly between burned and unburned forests within any forest type, while bamboo forest was found to support a distinctly different amphibian assemblage to terra-firme forest. Our results suggest that further sampling over wider spatial and temporal scales to encompass a greater range of fire impacts could consolidate insights into the effects of fire on anuran communities in this region, and help to highlight the conservation value of these disturbed forests. These preliminary results are novel and enhance our understanding of how tropical forest fires may affect amphibian communities. The data also highlight the conservation value of forests affected by a fire event, as they harboured large numbers of anuran species known in the region. This is of particular interest for those species that have so far only been recorded outside of protected areas in Madre de Dios, such as Ranitomeya cf. ventrimaculata and Osteocephalus buckleyi.

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