Effectiveness of artificial amphibian breeding sites against non-native species in a public protected area in Tuscany, Italy.
The spread of non-native invasive species is among the factors thought to be responsible for the recent global declines in amphibian populations. In a Protected Natural Area of Local Interest in Tuscany, Italy, we tested approaches for preserving the local amphibian populations threatened by the presence of the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii. The construction of artificial breeding ponds, with suitable vertical barriers, was initially effective in preventing the spread of the red swamp crayfish and created a source site for amphibians, in particular newt species. Unfortunately, five years after construction, the breeding sites were colonized by fish and crayfish, possibly due to the actions of members of the public.