If you build it, the amphibians will come: Swiss researchers show new ponds boost species at risk

In a rare triumph in amphibian conservation, researchers found that creating hundreds of new ponds in the midst of a bustling Switzerland landscape strengthened amphibian populations there. The effort, in which citizen scientists built and monitored ponds for 20 years, helped nearly three-quarters of the region’s populations of frogs, toads, newts and salamanders rebound or stabilize by occupying more ponds, a team reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Nearly 40% of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red List. The culprits vary from fungal diseases and climate change to pesticide use, road traffic, and habitat loss in local ecosystems. In Switzerland, for example, more than 90% of the wetlands favored by amphibians disappeared in the last century.


“It’s a very simple story: Do something positive for species and you can’t really fail,” Moor said. “It will have some positive effect on some species.”

If you build it, the amphibians will come: Swiss researchers show new ponds boost species at risk