Although habitat loss is a major driver of amphibian and reptile declines globally, a subset of postindustrial landscapes, reclaimed and restored, are creating habitat for these animals in the United States. In southwestern Indiana, along the southeastern edge of the Illinois Coal Basin, post-SMCRA (Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977) grassland restorations are recreating prairies in a region where they occurred naturally as openings (pockets) in deciduous forest, but were destroyed by agricultural activities following Euro-American settlement. Furthermore, it is likely, given the speed of recolonization by 34 species of amphibians and reptiles (9 frog, 5 salamander, 13 snake, 5 turtle, and 2 lizard species), that the grasslands associated with railroad spur-line right-of-ways act as corridors to facilitate movement of these species into these relatively large sites. We suggest that reclaimed, restored, and properly managed landscapes can support reproducing populations of amphibians and reptiles, including species in decline across other portions of their range.
- Coal mining
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology