Amphibians

Context

SSSI features can be notified if they qualify under the amphibian criteria outlined in section 3 of Chapter 15 'Reptiles and Amphibians' of the Guidelines for Selection of Biological SSSIs.  There are no ASSIs or SACs for amphibian features in Northern Ireland. 

 
For amphibians, sites may be notified for all important and established colonies of natterjack toad Bufo calamita and all exceptional colonies of great crested newt Triturus cristatus.  Outstanding assemblages of widespread species (i.e. T. cristatus, smooth newt T. vulgaris, palmate newt T. helveticus, common toad Bufo bufo and common frog Rana temporaria) should also be selected.
 
T. cristatus is the only UK amphibian which qualifies as a feature for the selection of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) by being on Annex II of the EC Habitats Directive.
 

Summary statistics

  SAC A/SSSI Total
Favourable condition 43% 53% 47%
Main monitoring coverage E E  
Reported assessments 30 19 49
Completeness of assessments 97% unknown  
Distribution of features     GB
 

Number of assessments reported by country and site type

Country SAC SSSI/ASSI
England 23 12
Scotland 3 7
Wales 4 0
Northern Ireland 0 0
United Kingdom 30 19
 

Natura features

List of Natura 2000 interest features within this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported Total no. of features % assessed
Triturus cristatus Great crested newt 30 31 97%
 
Natura 2000 comprises Special Protection Areas (under the Birds Directive) and Special Areas for Conservation (under the Habitats and Species Directive). The list presented here includes all of the qualifying interest features under these Directives, and shows the proportion of these features for which a condition assessment has been made.
 

SSSI features

List of SSSI and ASSI interest features in this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported
Bufo calamita Natterjack toad 3
Triturus cristatus Great crested newt 9
Amphibian assemblage Amphibian assemblage 7
 
This list has not been fully standardised at a UK level yet. It is intended to show the principal constituent "feature types" for this reporting category.
 

Maps - distribution

UK distibution of reported interest features

Distribution of reported interest features.

Map showing the locations of the 10km squares in which at least one condition assessment has been reported. It does not show features that have not yet been assessed.

 

Maps - Natura

Distribution of SAC features showing assessments of favourability Condition of SAC features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
Current condition of SAC features
Distribution of SAC features showing assessments of favourability (where unfavourable-recovering is counted as unfavourable).
Condition of SAC features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
The implication of the unfavourable-recovering condition assessments is that at some point in the future these features should become favourable. This map shows the effect of that recovery by counting the favourable and unfavourable-recovering assessments together.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not have information on the timescale of the predicted recovery, which may be influenced by many past, natural and human related factors. A sustained sympathetic management regime is more likely to result in favourable condition being attained.

Key: Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable:

Natura map legend - Key: proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable

 

Details of how these maps were produced

 

Maps - SSSI

Current condition of SSSI/ASSI features Condition of SSSI/ASSI features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
Current condition of SSSI/ASSI features
Distribution of SSSI/ASSI features showing assessments of favourability (where unfavourable-recovering is counted as unfavourable).
Condition of SSSI/ASSI features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
The implication of the unfavourable-recovering condition assessments is that at some point in the future these features should become favourable. This map shows the effect of that recovery by counting the favourable and unfavourable-recovering assessments together.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not have information on the timescale of the predicted recovery, which may be influenced by many past, natural and human related factors. A sustained sympathetic management regime is more likely to result in favourable condition being attained.

Key: Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable:

SSSI map legend - Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable

 

Details of how these maps were produced

 

Condition summary

Reporting category condition summary on Natura 2000 sites and SSSI

This lists the 10 different condition assessments and presents a bar chart showing the number of features within the SSSI series and the Natura 2000 series (either SPA for bird features or SAC for features other than birds). Note that for Natura 2000 we are able to estimate the number of features that have not been assessed during the 6 year reporting period - we are unable to do this for SSSI/ASSI because we do not have an overall list of notified interest features for these designations.

 

NB favourable unclassified and unfavourable unclassified have been used in this first six year cycle to get around difficulties in identifying trends in condition as common standards monitoring is implemented. It is expected that these categories will not be used for subsequent assessments of a feature.

 

Condition assessment - Natura 2000 features

The number and proportion of assessments for Natura 2000 (SAC and SPA) interest features falling into each of the condition categories
The number and proportion of assessments for Natura 2000 (SAC and SPA) interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the �unfavourable� category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except �unfavourable recovering� which is shown as a separate segment.
 

Condition assessment - SSSI features

The number and proportion of assessments for SSSI/ASSI interest features falling into each of the condition categories
The number and proportion of assessments for SSSI/ASSI interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the �unfavourable� category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except �unfavourable recovering� which is shown as a separate segment.
 

Adverse activities

The number of interest features where an activity has been reported as being implicated in the "unfavourable" condition of a feature
The number of interest features where an activity has been reported as being implicated in the "unfavourable" condition of a feature. More than one adverse activity may be reported for each feature.
 

Management measures

The measures summary bar chart lists the management measures relevant to the reporting category
For each "measure" the chart shows the number of interest features where that measure has been taken on a site to improve or maintain the condition of an interest feature. More than one measure may be reported for each feature assessed.
 

Interpretation

47% of amphibian features reported are in favourable condition.  This is well below the average for species features and below the average for all features combined.  53% of the SSSI features reported are favourable, and a further 32% unfavourable-recovering.
 
97% of great crested newt Triturus cristatus SAC sites have been assessed.  This is the sole amphibian species for which SACs have been designated.  44% of the SACs are reported as favourable and 33% as unfavourable-recovering.
 
The most frequently cited reasons for unfavourable condition are (in decreasing order): lack of remedial management, forestry, invasive species, under-grazing and game or fisheries management.  This list probably relates to the familiar problems of increasing shading of breeding ponds, early drying of breeding ponds (both due primarily to succession), invasive plant introductions and fish introduction.  The problems facing amphibians on protected sites appear, therefore, largely to mirror those problems understood to exist in the wider countryside.  In general the reported conditions of amphibian sites accord well with understanding of the sites gained through liaison and sites visits.