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01.02.2013 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 2/2013 Open Access

Biodiversity and Conservation 2/2013

Evaluating the effectiveness of road mitigation measures

Zeitschrift:
Biodiversity and Conservation > Ausgabe 2/2013
Autoren:
Edgar A. van der Grift, Rodney van der Ree, Lenore Fahrig, Scott Findlay, Jeff Houlahan, Jochen A. G. Jaeger, Nina Klar, L. Francisco Madriñan, Leif Olson

Abstract

The last 20 years have seen a dramatic increase in efforts to mitigate the negative effects of roads and traffic on wildlife, including fencing to prevent wildlife-vehicle collisions and wildlife crossing structures to facilitate landscape connectivity. While not necessarily explicitly articulated, the fundamental drivers behind road mitigation are human safety, animal welfare, and/or wildlife conservation. Concomitant with the increased effort to mitigate has been a focus on evaluating road mitigation. So far, research has mainly focussed on assessing the use of wildlife crossing structures, demonstrating that a broad range of species use them. However, this research has done little to address the question of the effectiveness of crossing structures, because use of a wildlife crossing structure does not necessarily equate to its effectiveness. The paucity of studies directly examining the effectiveness of crossing structures is exacerbated by the fact that such studies are often poorly designed, which limits the level of inference that can be made. Without well performed evaluations of the effectiveness of road mitigation measures, we may endanger the viability of wildlife populations and inefficiently use financial resources by installing structures that are not as effective as we think they are. In this paper we outline the essential elements of a good experimental design for such assessments and prioritize the parameters to be measured. The framework we propose will facilitate collaboration between road agencies and scientists to undertake research programs that fully evaluate effectiveness of road mitigation measures. We discuss the added value of road mitigation evaluations for policy makers and transportation agencies and provide recommendations on how to incorporate such evaluations in road planning practices.

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