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Many investigators have hypothesized that landscape attributes such as the amount and proximity of habitat are important for amphibian spatial patterns. This has produced a number of studies focusing on the effects of landscape characteristics on amphibian patterns of occurrence in patches or ponds, most of which conclude that the landscape is important. We identified two concerns associated with these studies: one deals with their applicability to other landscape types, as most have been conducted in agricultural landscapes; the other highlights the need to account for the probability of detection. We tested the hypothesis that landscape characteristics influence spatial patterns of amphibian occurrence at ponds after accounting for the probability of detection in little-studied peatland landscapes undergoing peat mining. We also illustrated the costs of not accounting for the probability of detection by comparing our results to conventional logistic regression analyses. Results indicate that frog occurrence increased with the percent cover of ponds within 100, 250, and 1000 m, as well as the amount of forest cover within 1000 m. However, forest cover at 250 m had a negative influence on frog presence at ponds. Not accounting for the probability of detection resulted in underestimating the influence of most variables on frog occurrence, whereas a few were overestimated. Regardless, we show that conventional logistic regression can lead to different conclusions than analyses accounting for detectability. Our study is consistent with the hypothesis that landscape characteristics are important in determining the spatial patterns of frog occurrence at ponds. We strongly recommend estimating the probability of detection in field surveys, as this will increase the quality and conservation potential of models derived from such data. ?? 2005 by the Ecological Society of America.
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Landscape characteristics influence pond occupancy by frogs after accounting for detectability