Amphibians are highly endangered animal species both in Austria and worldwide, threatened by factors such as habitat destruction, fungal diseases, and land use changes. The green toad, an endangered pioneer species, is particularly eye-catching. It is characterized by the ability to quickly colonize newly emerging bodies of water and is mainly widespread in eastern Austria, with sporadic, isolated occurrences in the west of the country. Their natural spawning waters are steppe lakes that fill up after rainfall or ponds that form after floods and benefit greatly from solar radiation. In Europe, these natural spawning habitats for the green toad have almost completely disappeared, and today it often resorts to artificial bodies of water or lakes that arise after rainstorms. However, the green toad's conservation status is deteriorating due to the loss of brownfield land and the sealing of vacant lots in both rural and urban areas. To counteract this negative development, countermeasures are being taken, such as the provision of replacement habitats.
Green Toads in the Garden
In the project, committed citizen scientists can use AmhiApp to investigate areas that are often inaccessible to research, such as private gardens. Citizens are actively involved in the project and learn how they can help protect this endangered species through simple measures, such as creating small bodies of water. Such habitat creation will not only improve the conservation status of green toads but also promote overall biodiversity by attracting a variety of invertebrates such as insects. The knowledge gained is used to develop concrete protective measures for these rare biotopes. The active participation of citizens enables the initiative to be implemented broadly, increases its sustainability, and creates increased awareness of the protection of biodiversity in Austria. Those interested can register and use the AmphiBiom app to report amphibian calls or participate directly in the creation of spawning grounds for green toads using an online form at www.amphi.at.