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Diversity  2009 

Mine Spoil Prairies Expand Critical Habitat for Endangered and Threatened Amphibian and Reptile Species

DOI: 10.3390/d1020118

Keywords: amphibian, reptile, declines, habitat loss, prairie

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Coal extraction has been occurring in the Midwestern United States for over a century. Despite the pre-mining history of the landscape as woodlands, spent surface coalfields are often reclaimed to grasslands. We assessed amphibian and reptile species on a large tract of coal spoil prairie and found 13 species of amphibians (nine frog and four salamander species) and 19 species of reptiles (one lizard, five turtle, and 13 snake species). Two state-endangered and three state species of special concern were documented. The amphibian diversity at our study site was comparable to the diversity found at a large restored prairie situated 175 km north, within the historic prairie peninsula.


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