In Brandenburg’s waters, the number of amphibians such as frogs and toads has decreased significantly in recent years. There is a “slump” in the amphibian population, said the head of the Brandenburg Nature Watch, Britta Schmidt. The association looks after a total of 15 “national natural landscapes” in Brandenburg, including the Lower Oder Valley National Park.
Between 2014 and 2018, the nature watch rangers counted around 39,000 amphibians on the 33 protective fences, said Schmidt. In 2019 there were still 18,500, in 2021 the number had fallen to around 13,500.
Even if this year’s spring was not quite as dry, this does not mean that there has been any relaxation. The ponds in which the amphibians spawn would dry up quickly, Schmidt said. The tadpoles could therefore not fully develop. She identified increasing drought as a result of climate change as the main cause of the declining amphibian population.
The Dahme-Heideseen nature watch at the Reichhardsluch toad fence recorded a particularly strong decline. According to a statement from the State Office for the Environment (LfU), only 24 amphibians were counted there this year. 20 years ago there were still 1295 animals. “This year’s figure is a historic low,” said the LfU.
The Döberitzer Heide in Havelland is also badly affected by this development. In the area south of Dallgow-Döberitz, which is managed by the Heinz Sielmann Foundation based in Duderstadt, Lower Saxony, the persistently low groundwater level is endangering amphibian migration, said spokeswoman Nora Künkler.
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According to the information, there were very strong population losses for the moor frog, of which specimens can only rarely be seen in Sielmann’s natural landscape Döberitzer Heide. Your living space has deteriorated, said Künkler. The animals would need small bodies of water, but these would continue to dry up and disappear. This is largely due to climate change.
The landscape water balance is changing due to the decrease in precipitation and the increase in evaporation. Water drains faster on dry soil. In addition, there is increased water use in settlement areas and progressive surface sealing.
According to Künkler, the negative trend in the amphibian population will continue this year. This spring was also too dry. “In addition, there were cold nights at the end of April, so that courtship mood did not really arise,” said Künkler. “Climate change is overtaking us on the right lane.”
The Nabu Brandenburg also raises the alarm. At a conference of 90 herpetologists, that is amphibian and reptile scientists, at the end of April in Linum (Ostprignitz-Ruppin), reports from the regions and from excursions revealed that the stocks of the native amphibian populations had declined by 60 to 100 percent, said Nabu- Speaker Heidrun Schoening. The main cause is the extensive drying out of spawning waters and habitats due to the past drought years.