Mechanically remove mid-storey or ground vegetation

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

  • One randomized, replicated, controlled study in the USA found that numbers of amphibian species, but not abundance, were significantly higher in plots with mechanical understory reduction compared to those without.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 2001–2004 of upland hardwood forest in North Carolina, USA (Greenberg & Waldrop 2008) found that mechanical understory reduction significantly increased amphibian species richness, but not abundance. Species richness was significantly higher in understory reduction plots compared to controls (6 vs 3). However, there was no significant difference in the relative abundance of total amphibians compared to controls (18 vs 17 captured/100 nights), total anurans (frogs and toads; 11 vs 10), salamanders (8 vs 4), American toads Bufo americanus (10 vs 10) or green frog Rana clamitans (2 vs 1). There were three randomly assigned replicates of treatment and control plots. Mechanical removal of shrubs was undertaken in winter 2001–2002 using chainsaws. Drift-fences with pitfall and funnel traps were used for monitoring in August–October 2001 and May–September 2002–2004.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Smith, R.K., Meredith, H. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Amphibian Conservation. Pages 9-64 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Amphibian Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Amphibian Conservation
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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