How to translate text using browser tools
30 June 2023 Learning from past designs: improving amphibian fences using an adaptive management approach
John Gould, Alex Callen, Gregory Knibb, Rachael Donelly, Kate Schmahl, Cassandra Maynard, Samantha Sanders, Frank Lemckert, Colin McHenry
Author Affiliations +
Abstract

Fences have been widely used to exclude, manage, or monitor both native and invasive amphibian populations. Given that fences are artificial barriers that impact animal movements within the landscape, it is critical they do not allow for unwanted movement or lead to unintended animal welfare risks. We have carried out a literature review to identify features that have been used for amphibian fences, as well as aspects of fence design, installation, and maintenance that have limited their effectiveness. We also describe our own application of adaptive management to amphibian exclusion fences, in which we detected flaws and improved features, and monitored the effectiveness of these changes. Based on an exploration of the literature and our experiences, we found several key attributes to fences that must be considered when created for amphibians, including height, lip barriers, underground barriers, support frameworks, gates, seams, clearance zones, and moisture refuges. We found that studies commonly do not detail all of these aspects of their fences, and that few openly describe flaws in the design, installation, and subsequent maintenance of their fences. This is potentially concerning because it may limit chances to make improvements to fence designs that are specific for amphibians. We subsequently provide considerations and recommendations for each key fence attribute, along with maintenance and monitoring advice. These take into account intended fence purpose, desired fence permeability, and project constraints for a variety of amphibian types, life histories, and developmental stages. They are intended to be used by managers to assist in designing an effective fence for their target species. Some of our recommendations to reduce animal welfare risks are to minimise the use of: (1) fence materials that could cause abrasion injuries, (2) dry substrates that could lead to desiccation, (3) geofabrics that could lead to entanglement, and (4) fence aprons that animals could easily become trapped under. This is likely to be a valuable guide for practitioners who are required to install amphibian fences and for policy makers who prescribe fences for mitigation. This guide is applicable for projects managing threatened native species, as well as invasive species, such as the cane toad (Rhinella marina).

John Gould, Alex Callen, Gregory Knibb, Rachael Donelly, Kate Schmahl, Cassandra Maynard, Samantha Sanders, Frank Lemckert, and Colin McHenry "Learning from past designs: improving amphibian fences using an adaptive management approach," Wildlife Research 51(1), (30 June 2023). https://doi.org/10.1071/WR23007
Received: 19 January 2023; Accepted: 8 June 2023; Published: 30 June 2023
KEYWORDS
amphibian
artificial barriers
cane toad
exclusion fence
fence design
landscape engineering
management tool
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top