Small frog, big footprint!

THE CHORUS FROG

THE IMPORTANCE OF NATURAL HABITATS

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH

The Importance of Natural Habitats

As land with development potential becomes increasingly rare, the remaining natural environments in urban and peri-urban sectors are under constant pressure.

The pressure of land development and the use of resources are causing the fragmentation, degradation, and complete disappearance of entire ecosystems. These are major causes for biodiversity loss: nearly two thirds of Quebec’s threatened and endangered species live in the southernmost part of the province where the land is the most sought after for anthropic use.

The Chorus Frog as an Umbrella Species

Rare species that play an integral role in preserving Quebec’s biological heritage can be umbrella species, meaning that their individual protection enables the protection of entire habitats and ecosystems which are often residual, singular and poorly spread out. In some cases, these habitats are home to other valuable, rare and interesting organisms. Moreover, some species located on the outskirts of their area of occupancy have a distinct genetic makeup due to particular ecological adaptations, which justifies in itself their need for protection.

This is the case for chorus frogs, who occupy very specific natural environments. These frogs utilize ephemeral aquatic environments within a highly-varied mosaic of habitats on a local scale. They breed in humid environments amidst other plants and wildlife that are intimately connected and instrumental to the temporary wetlands’ flooding period. These aquatic ecosystems are of great ecological importance due to the singular composition of the diverse populations that inhabit them.

Wetlands as Productive and Essential Environments

Wetlands perform multiple functions, namely:

  • contributing substantially to the hydrologic (water) cycle;
  • trapping sediment, and filtering incoming pollutants or nutrients;
  • providing habitat and food supply for a wide variety of species;
  • offering several recreational activities (wildlife observation, nautical excursions, etc.).

Wetlands are also renowned for providing ecosystem services, meaning that they provide societal benefits, such as:

  • absorbing and retaining water from floods and precipitation;
  • protecting against coastal erosion;
  • regulating the climate through carbon sequestration;
  • providing a water supply;
  • preventing floods;
  • offering habitat to a variety of species, which favours ecosystem resilience.