The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 03. Evaluating the suitability of habitat for the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

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Open Access

pp.143-155

Authors: R. S. Oldham, J. Keeble, M. J. S. Swan And M. Jeffcote

Abstract: A modification of the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (USFWS, 1976) applied to crested newt habitats is described, using ten key habitat criteria, based upon the assumption that habitat quality determines population size. Seven of these criteria (pond area, permanence, shading and density, macrophyte density, number of waterfowl and terrestrial habitat quality) are assessed using objective habitat measurements, the other three (site geography, water quality and fish occurrence) using qualitative rule-bases, to produce a Habitat Suitability Index for each site. Preliminary validation of the method for a set of 72 sites provides a significant rank correlation between indices of population size and of habitat. The procedure has the potential to provide a simple method of habitat assessment, for site surveying or selection of host sites for translocation, and can be upgraded easily as knowledge of crested newt habitat requirements improves. There was an incidental indication from the validation exercise that the number of newts caught by bottle trapping was affected negatively by the presence of macrophytes.

Keywords: Triturus cristatus, crested newt, habitat suitability index, habitat evaluation, translocation, monitoring

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