Road ecology is the study of the interaction between roads and the natural environment. It examines and addresses the effects of roads on wildlife populations (e.g. road mortality) and ecological processes (e.g. habitat fragmentation).
Roads often cross through wildlife habitat, which can create a physical barrier or cause road mortality. This can negatively impact wildlife populations, especially for species at risk.
While it's impossible to stop building roads, they can be designed and built in ways that minimize the impacts on wildlife through the use of road ecology best management practices (BMPs).
Wildlife ecopassages can be designed and built into new or existing roads to exclude wildlife from the roadway and instead direct them to a crossing structure to safely pass over or under the road. In this way, the direct threat of roads to wildlife and drivers is minimized, and the connectivity between habitats is maintained.
LSRCA has developed tools to assist when incorporating wildlife ecopassages as well as other road ecology BMPs into the planning, design, construction and maintenance of road infrastructure. These are available below for download.
Tools for Wildlife Ecopassages
This summary document provides an overview of road ecology BMPs, how they can be implemented, as well as municipal policy templates.
This guide will assist in incorporating road ecology BMPs into road design, with a focus on using ecopassages to improve habitat connectivity and reduce vehicle-wildlife collisions.
Road Ecology Template Policies
LSRCA has drafted template policies for road ecology which can easily be built into municipal planning documents.
This study tests land cover maps and traffic data to
predict areas of wildlife-vehicle collisions hotspots, with the ultimate goal
of providing roads planners with maps of areas on which to focus efforts.
In this article, we discuss the impact of roads on turtle populations and how wildlife eco-passages can reduce mortality.