Abstract

The calamity of amphibian population declines has preoccupied the thoughts of many amphibian biologists for the past 30 yr. Because amphibians provide multiple essential ecosystem services at all life stages, the threats associated with their decline are likely also to be multiple and interconnected. No single cause has yet explained all amphibian declines; one potential threat after another has been investigated in isolation and found to explain only a piece of a larger puzzle. A more holistic, synergistic approach is needed to understand how, and when, normally tolerated environmental influences might exceed the capacities of amphibian populations to cope either phenotypically or evolutionarily. Ultimately, the factors generally implicated in amphibian declines are all secondary to habitat loss and degradation caused by human activity. Because the roots of this problem are cultural and economic, the solutions do not lie solely within the realm of science but instead require political and societal action.

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