January 21, 2022 5:04 pm

The study of the negative effects of roads on animals is still insufficient

Studies that analyze the effects of roads on animal populationsThose that impact negatively have focused, above all, on large mammals from developed countries, without taking into account other less striking species or developing countries, according to a research led by the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM).

The work, published in Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation, has consisted of a bibliographic review of 1,517 studies extracted from the repository Web of Science around three themes: collisions, habitat fragmentation and mitigating measures of these two impacts.

Among the conclusions, the deficit of variety of species stands out: the studies only contemplate 2% of the species threatened by the roads according to the Red List of Threatened Species from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the most complete inventory of the conservation status of animal and plant species worldwide.

This percentage is centered on large mammals, mainly carnivores such as foxes or bears (36%), in addition to ungulates such as deer or antelope (15 %), marsupials such as kangaroos or koalas (14%) and turtles (13 %).

The authors miss less striking species, but also affected by the road network such as primates, bats or invertebrates.

The authors miss less striking species, but also affected by the road network such as primates, bats or invertebrates

Regarding the location, biologists find insufficient studies in Southeast Asia, South America or central Africa.

Representation of animals in scientific articles according to the proportion of their appearance. / Rafael Barrientos

This geographical and species limitation would affect conservation decisions, since they do not show the reality of the global problem.

“This knowledge deficit should be covered in future research. For example, instead of registering abuses, study how they affect population dynamics. When it comes to seeing if the roads get in the way wildlife movements and if the animals use the mitigation measures installed, it would be necessary to study whether the absence of connectivity or the improvement of it after mitigation influences the survival of the populations living on the margins of the roads ”, he proposes Rafael Barrientos, researcher at the Department of Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolution of the UCM.

Besides the Madrid universityThe Portuguese universities of Lisbon, Aveiro and Oporto also participated in the study; the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research and the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg.


Rafael Barrientos, Fernando Ascensão, Marcello, D’Amico, Clara Grilo, Henrique M. Pereira. “The lost road: Do transportation networks imperil wildlife population persistence?” Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation

Source: SINC

Rights: Creative Commons.


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