Assessing the impacts of roads in peri-urban reserves: Road-based fatalities and road usage by wildlife in the Royal National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Biological Conservation, 2006, 129 (3), pp. 348 - 359
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For protected reserves set aside for conservation, the impact of roads and traffic on wildlife can be severe, particularly for those in the peri-urban environment. Often reserves possess many sealed roads that have regular traffic from tourists and local residents. As managerial bodies struggle to control the wide variety of threats to the fauna within these reserves, the loss of life on roads only compounds the precarious nature of wildlife survival in these disturbed environments. As a first step to addressing this concern in Australia, this study quantifies the fatalities of wildlife killed on roads within the Royal National Park in New South Wales, and estimates those wildlife species using roadside habitat in order to identify species susceptible to collisions. Modelling of fatality data indicated that mammals were most likely to be killed where forage was abundant on the roadside verge and where there was plenty of protective cover, while birds were most likely to be killed when the height of roadside vegetation was low. A number of collision hotspots were identified along the surveyed road that should be the target of mitigation efforts. The average speed of vehicles travelling within the park peaked at night. This is of particular concern as activity by Australian mammals tends to be greatest at night. The findings indicate that roads in peri-urban reserves have the potential to alter the movement of animals and impact on their populations through loss of life. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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