This species is found in eastern USA including the Pine Barrens of New Jersey; the upper Coastal Plain and parts of lower Coastal Plain of North and South Carolina; and western Florida panhandle and adjacent Alabama, some 750km south-west of the nearest South Carolina population. It is also known in Georgia from an old record of a single specimen (Means and Mohler 1979; Gosner and Black 1967; Conant and Collins 1991). There are numerous occurrences throughout its range. The largest populations occur in New Jersey (Freda and Morin 1984). Discovery of this species in Florida was fairly recent (Christman 1970). Palmer (1977) suggested that the current distribution reflects relicts from a considerably more widespread distribution in the past.
Habitat and Ecology
The non-breeding habitat is generally pine-oak areas adjacent to breeding habitat. Activity is terrestrial and arboreal. Important egg-laying and larval habitats include open cedar swamps and sphagnaceous, shrubby, acidic, seepage bogs on hillsides below pine-oak ridges. It is intolerant of closed-canopy conditions.
Its total adult population size is unknown but it is relatively common where it occurs. Its population is relatively stable overall, but it is probably experiencing local declines due to habitat loss.
It is apparently secure in most of the range, although relative scarcity and specialized habitat requirements justify continued monitoring and protection. The primary threat in the New Jersey Pine Barrens is habitat destruction or alteration from residential, agricultural, and industrial development (Palmer 1977; Freda and Morin 1984). Development pressures within the Pine Barrens place isolated populations outside protected areas at increased risk of elimination. The early successional shrub bogs, seeps, and sphagnum ponds selected as breeding sites are very acidic and nutrient-poor ecosystems and any changes in the chemistry of the waters in these habitats (as, for example, from storm water runoff) would likely cause the disappearance of the characteristic flora and fauna (Ehrenfeld 1983; Morgan et al. 1983; Freda and Morin 1984). The sandy soils of the Pine Barrens are very porous and allow pollutants to quickly enter the ground water, which is the major water source for the wetlands upon which the tree frog depends. Development can also lower the water table, which would have dramatic effects on the hydrology of bog wetlands. Garton and Sill (1979) reported that the specific habitat requirements of the species made it susceptible to local extirpation. Unlike other sympatric tree frog species, it generally does not breed in temporary waterbodies such as natural rain pools or in human-made areas such as roadside ditches and borrow pits. However, Bullard (1965) reported chorusing males along a roadside ditch in North Carolina. As is true for other Sandhills species, plant succession due to fire suppression appears to be a significant threat in South Carolina (Cely and Sorrow 1986).
Many populations on public lands provide good opportunities for conservation management of this species. For example, it occurs in 16 sites within the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge in Chesterfield County, South Carolina (Garton and Sill 1979; Brown 1980). In New Jersey, the greatest density of tree frogs, and the largest numbers of colonies, are found in protected areas within Lebanon and Wharton State Forests and Greenwood and Pasadena wildlife management areas (Freda and Morin 1984). Most occurrences in the Florida and Alabama populations are on protected lands, specifically Eglin Air Force Base and Blackwater River State Forest in Florida, and Conecuh National Forest in Alabama (Jackson pers. comm.).
Geoffrey Hammerson 2004. Hyla andersonii. In: IUCN 2014