A recent study conducted in the landscape surrounding La Selva Biological Station, of northeastern Costa Rica, found that landscape matrix really matters for tropical reptiles and amphibians. La Selva is located adjacent to the Braulio Carrilio Nation Park, however, the landscape surrounding La Selva Biological Station is a mixture of pasture, plantations, fragmented forest and developed areas.
The main objective of this study was to look at how reptile and amphibian populations were affected in areas where the forest edge transitions to pasture and peach palm plantation. The authors aimed to determine whether these different land uses complement the forest in supporting species habitat. They collected reptile and amphibian samples in the forest and into the pasture and peach palm. The results showed that both reptile and amphibian population abundance and diversity was higher in the forest compared to the two land uses, but there was also a significant difference between the forest to peach palm landscape and the forest to pasture landscape. This shows how land use type surrounding protected areas can have a significant impact on reptile and amphibian populations.
Some protected areas in the tropics may not be able to support or conserve threatened species since the surrounding land use type and landscape surrounding forest fragments can have an impact on the species’ population. Peach palm and pastures may be able to complement forest habitats, but they should not be used as a replacement habitat.
Kurtz, D.J., et al,. (2014). Forest-land use complementarity modifies community structure of a tropical herpetofauna. Biological Conservation, 246-255. Retrieved from sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.stedwards,edu