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Keywords:

  • amphibians;
  • isolation;
  • metapopulation;
  • road barrier

1.  The effects of habitat fragmentation on the distribution pattern of the moor frog Rana arvalis were investigated. Also, the possible isolation effects of the road network were taken into account.

2.  Indications were found that habitat fragmentation partly explains the distribution pattern of the moor frog. The statistical models showed a positive effect of pond size (or marsh area) and a negative effect of road density on the probability of occupation of a moorland pond.

3.  Because of the strong correlation between habitat quality variables and isolation variables, no unambiguous effects of isolation, described as the amount of suitable terrestrial habitat (moorland) in the surroundings of a moorland pond in a radius of 100–2000 m, could be demonstrated.

4.  Spatial differences in road density can play a role in the selection of optimal locations for nature protection areas. The regression model used in this study predicts a reduced occupation probability in 55% of the study area. In the part of the study area adjacent to a motorway, occupation probability is lowered to less than 30%.

5.  European studies of habitat fragmentation on amphibian species revealed a mean distance between occupied ponds of <1 km in all studies. This could be a general rule of thumb for persistent amphibian populations. Effects of pond size on the probability of occupation were more variable.

6.  When discussing the effects of habitat fragmentation on amphibians and other ground dwelling species, the negative effects of roads are often underestimated.