Despite the functional importance of isolated wetlands as supporters and sources of diverse assemblages of amphibians and reptiles, they lack federal protection and local protection is often insufficient to halt their destruction. A key step in guiding informed policy towards isolated wetlands is to understand their economic value. This study combines a year of intensive amphibian surveys within a wetland with the assignment of values to each of the captured species based upon their reported commercial values. The 392,605 amphibians comprising 17 species captured at this wetland in 1 y were valued at $3,605,848 (U.S. dollars). Juvenile amphibians produced in the wetland in a single year accounted for the 95% of the reported value ($3,413,821). This value far exceeds the value of other natural habitats evaluated with similar methods and exceeds by two orders of magnitude the value of this land had it been converted to agriculture. Although this study does not advocate amphibian harvest as an economic use for wetlands, it does highlight the value, diversity, and abundance of amphibians inhabiting these small, isolated, and often unprotected wetlands and provides a foundation for future research, management, mitigation, and policy.
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Vol. 172 • No. 1