Impacts of Agriculture and Pesticides on Amphibian Terrestrial Life Stages: Potential Biomonitor/Bioindicator Species for the Pampa Region of Argentina
In the midst of the global biodiversity crisis, amphibians are the most threatened and rapidly declining vertebrate group. Modern agriculture is increasingly involved in the amphibian decline as agricultural expansion and intensification are causing pesticide contamination together with habitat loss and fragmentation. In Argentina, the Pampa region consists of a vast grassy plain rich in lakes and ponds where agriculture and cattle ranching dominate. Over the last 40 years, the region has experienced a great expansion of cultivated surface as well as an intensification of the production through the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The gradual transformation of the landscape is likely to impact the regional herpetofauna. As amphibians are key elements of food chains, whole ecosystems may eventually be altered by amphibian declines. The biomonitoring of selected amphibian populations is a useful tool to provide information on the status and health of amphibian communities and the ecosystem in general. In the current chapter, we propose the use of five amphibian species as potential amphibian models for biomonitoring environmental quality in the Pampa region of Argentina. The characteristics and life history of the species are described, as well as current antecedents surrounding their use as bioindicators and biomonitors.