Salamanders and riparian forests are intimately interconnected. Salamanders are integral to ecosystem functions, contributing to vertebrate biomass and complex food webs in riparian forests. In turn, these forests are critical ecosystems that perform many environmental services, facilitate high biodiversity and species richness, and provide habitat to salamander populations. Due to the global decline of amphibians, it is important to understand, as thoroughly and holistically as possible, the roles of environmental parameters and the impact of human activities on salamander abundance and diversity in riparian forests. To determine the population responses of salamanders to a variety of environmental factors and anthropogenic activities, we conducted a review of published literature that compared salamander abundance and diversity, and then summarized and synthesized the data into general patterns. We identify stream quality, leaf litter and woody debris, riparian buffer width, and soil characteristics as major environmental factors influencing salamander populations in riparian forests, describe and explain salamander responses to those factors, and discuss the effects of anthropogenic activities such as timber harvest, prescribed fires, urbanization, road construction, and habitat fragmentation. This review can assist land and natural resource managers in anticipating the consequences of human activities and preparing strategic conservation plans.
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