Indicator: Amphibian and Reptile Areas

Aug 10, 2020
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This indicator draws from the Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs), an expert-driven, nonregulatory designation that captures places capable of supporting viable amphibian and reptile populations.

Reason for Selection

Reptiles and amphibians provide an indicator of the condition and arrangement of embedded isolated wetlands.

Input Data

South Atlantic Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas (PARCAs) served as input data for this indicator. PARCA is a nonregulatory designation established to raise public awareness and spark voluntary action by landowners and conservation partners to benefit amphibians and/or reptiles. Areas are nominated using scientific criteria and expert review, drawing on the concepts of species rarity, richness, regional responsibility, and landscape integrity. Modeled in part after the Important Bird Areas program developed by BirdLife International, PARCAs are intended to be nationally coordinated but locally implemented at state or regional scales. Importantly, PARCAs are not designed to compete with existing landscape biodiversity initiatives, but to complement them, providing an additional spatially explicit layer for conservation consideration.

PARCAs are intended to be established in areas:

– capable of supporting viable amphibian and reptile populations,

– occupied by rare, imperiled, or at-risk species, and

– rich in species diversity or endemism.

Species used in identifying the PARCAs include: alligator snapping turtle, Barbour’s map turtle, one-toed amphiuma, Savannah slimy salamander, Mabee’s salamander, dwarf waterdog, Neuse river waterdog, chicken turtle, spotted turtle, tiger salamander, rainbow snake, lesser siren, gopher frog, Eastern diamondback rattlesnake, Southern hognose snake, pinesnake, flatwoods salamander, gopher tortoise, striped newt, pine barrens treefrog, and indigo snake.

There are four major implementation steps:

1) Regional PARC task teams or state experts can use the criteria and modify them when appropriate to designate potential PARCAs in their area of interest.

2) Following the identification of all potential PARCAs, the group then reduces these to a final set of exceptional sites that best represent the area of interest.

3) Experts and stakeholders in the area of interest collaborate to produce a map that identifies these peer-reviewed PARCAs.

4) Final PARCAs are shared with the community to encourage the implementation of voluntary habitat management and conservation efforts. PARCA boundaries can be updated as needed.

Mapping Steps

This indicator was converted from a vector to a 30 m pixel raster using the Feature to Raster function in ArcGIS.

Final indicator values

Indicator values were assigned as follows:

1 = Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area (PARCA)

0 = Not a Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area (PARCA)

Known Issues

– The mapping of this indicator is relatively coarse and doesn’t always capture differences in pixel-level quality in the outer edge of PARCAs.

– This indicator is binary and doesn’t capture the full continuum of value across the South Atlantic.

– The methods of combining expert knowledge and data in this indicator may have caused some areas that are poorly known and/or under-surveyed to be scored too low.

Disclaimer: Comparing with Older Indicator Versions

There are numerous problems with using South Atlantic indicators for change analysis. Please consult Blueprint staff if you would like to do this (email

Literature Cited

Sutherland and deMaynadier. 2012. Model Criteria and Implementation Guidance for a Priority Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area (PARCA) System in the USA. Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Technical Publication PARCA-1. 28 pp.

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generated using ADIwg mdTranslator 2.17.1
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Content date:
2020-08-15 04:00:00 (lastRevision Date), 2020-08-15 04:00:00 (Release Date), 2019-08-15 04:00:00 (Start Date), 2021-08-15 04:00:00 (End Date)
Rua Mordecai(Point of Contact), Amy Keister(Point of Contact), Hilary Morris(Point of Contact), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(Point of Contact), Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)(Point of Contact), 2020-08-15(lastRevision), 2020-08-15(Release), Indicator: Amphibian and Reptile Areas,,
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Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy (SECAS)
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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otherRestrictions - limitation not listed; This work is licensed under a [Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License]( The blueprint data and maps provided are only intended for use as a reference tool for landscape-level conservation planning efforts.
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South Atlantic Blueprint

The South Atlantic Conservation Blueprint is a living spatial plan to conserve natural and cultural resources for current and future generations in the face of future change. It spans parts of six states, from Virginia to Florida, including U.S. waters to 200 miles offshore. The Blueprint...