Common Fire Salamander
Promotion of the regional fire lamander population
The Common Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) is a native caudate that has become rare and about whose occurrence there are large gaps in our knowledge. From old information it was known that in the forests west of Bern there is a distribution focus of the Common Fire Salamander in the canton of Bern.
The introduced skin fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, or “Bsal” for short, threatens amphibian species throughout Europe. The Common Fire Salamander in particular is almost helpless against it – whole populations have already died out in Germany, for example. It has been found that the death rate in populations with richly structured habitats was significantly lower than in those with few structures. In the meantime, “Bsal” is on the border with Switzerland and it is only a matter of time that the native animals will also suffer. Within the canton of Bern, one of the distribution centres is in the forests around Bern.
In the Gäbelbachtal valley, the NaturBernWest association has been successfully carrying out a promotion project for the Common Fire Salamander together with UNA and with the support of the regional representation of info fauna – karch since 2016. With the support of the nature conservation franc (Naturschutzfranken) of the Bern Animal Park, the current project can be continued and comparable projects can be implemented in other areas.
- Knowing and promoting regional Common Fire Salamander populations
- Enhancing habitats through diverse deadwood and other small structures
- Creating optimal conditions for the survival of Common Fire Salamander when the skin fungus “Bsal” appears
A two-stage approach is planned for each of the regional projects:
In phase 1 of the project, the current Common Fire Salamander occurrences are recorded in an area together with volunteers. The survey is carried out by searching streams and rivulets for Common Fire Salamander larvae. In addition, the habitat quality is assessed and documented. Based on the results and by analysing maps as well as additional inspections, possible causes of endangerment and obstacles can be determined. Based on this, a catalogue of protection and enhancement measures will be developed.
As a first sub-project, the current state of the habitat for the Common Fire Salamander on the zoo grounds and in the Dälhölzli Forest will be recorded during the 2023 season and hopefully confirm the current evidence from 2020. Later, other areas will be worked on.
In phase 2, the feasibility of the proposed measures will be examined and implemented together with the main stakeholders in the area so that Salamanderland becomes a reality. Known larval waters must be maintained or upgraded, additional spawning opportunities can be created. The enhancement of terrestrial habitats can be achieved by promoting deciduous forest and lying deadwood. The implementation of protective measures on roads along migration routes reduces the loss of individual animals. Even small and inexpensive interventions can greatly enhance the habitat for the salamander.
Dialogue and awareness-raising among the public, landowners, managers and foresters also help to secure local salamander populations and their habitats sustainably and in the long term.
The experience gained in the Gäbelbach Valley project and the principles developed for it, which can also be used for other projects, enable efficient and effective promotion of the Common Fire Salamander in Bern and the surrounding area. This creates optimal conditions for the survival of the Common Fire Salamander when the skin fungus “Bsal” emerges.
- Common Fire Salamander
- other amphibian species
- Insects and other invertebrates
What we use your nature conservation francs (Naturschutzfranken) for
- Inventory of Common Fire Salamander around Bern
- Promote, enhance and protect habitats for high biodiversity in forest areas, such as deadwood areas, rock and wood piles.
- Reduction of hazards and obstacles