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The College of Wooster

Publication Date

Spring 2022

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Amphibians are currently undergoing rapid and drastic biodiversity loss worldwide, largely due to the disease Chytridiomycosis. Because of this, efforts to conserve amphibian biodiversity are urgent and have been given increasing importance. However, studies investigating the effectiveness of agroforestry systems, a commonly used agricultural method in which trees and other elements of forests are retained on land used for agriculture, for amphibian conservation are uncommon. As a result, the capacity of agroforests to serve as a tool for amphibian conservation is unclear. To determine if agroforests can serve as a habitat for amphibians and a tool for their conservation, this study examines amphibian species diversity, evenness, and richness, as well as overall abundance in a natural forest and a cacao agroforest in Changuinola, Bocas del Toro, Panama. Results show significantly higher amphibian species diversity, evenness, richness, and overall abundance in natural forest compared to agroforest. This suggests that agroforests are not a substitute for natural forests for terrestrial amphibians. However, the cacao agroforest does demonstrate the capacity to harbor some amphibians, which supports the idea that agroforestry is able to conserve biodiversity that traditional agriculture cannot. Despite this, natural forest is still shown to be overwhelmingly the better habitat for terrestrial amphibians. Therefore, conservation of natural forests and expansion of protected areas is recommended as the ideal course of action for amphibian conservation moving forward. Further investigation into amphibians and agroforestry systems and their integration worldwide is recommended to continue to examine their conservation potential for amphibians.


Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Monitoring | Forest Biology | Forest Management | Latin American Studies | Zoology


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