The concept of a metapopulation acknowledges local extinctions as a natural part of the dynamics of a patchily distributed population. However, if extinctions are not balanced by recolonizations or if there is a high degree of spatial synchrony of local extinctions, this poses a threat to and will reduce the metapopulation persistence time. Here we show that, in a metapopulation network of 378 pond patches used by the tree frog (Hyla arborea), even though extinctions are frequent (mean extinction probability pe = 0.24) they pose no threat to the metapopulation as they are balanced by recolonizations (pc = 0.33). In any one year there was a pattern of large populations tending to persist while small populations became extinct. The total number of individuals belonging to populations that went extinct was small (<5%) compared with those populations that persisted. A spatial autocorrelation analysis indicated no clustering of local extinctions. The tree frog metapopulation studied consisted of a set of larger, persistent populations mixed with smaller populations characterized by high turnover dynamics.