Road alleys are multifunctional features in open landscapes that serve as ecological corridors connecting habitats, and play an important role in sustaining ecological stability. However, multiple road authorities claim that tree-lined routes pose a threat to traffic safety and should therefore be removed. This aspect of safety seems crucial to authorities, significantly overwhelming the benefits of road alleys. Problems with the vitality of the trees (which are mainly mature and aging) deliver arguments for cutting them down. The aim of this paper is to examine the environmental and natural value of road alleys based on a 14 km long section of the Gamerki—Jonkowo Road in the Province of Warmia (Northeast Poland). Further, we aim to verify the degree of hazard posed by trees to be felled for safety reasons. An examination framework with six components was developed for the research. This framework includes a tree risk assessment and vitality evaluation, pulling tests, an examination of the protected hermit beetle and lichen species, and an examination of bat fauna. The results revealed that no trees were in the resignation phase and confirmed that the alley is a unique natural habitat with protected species of lichen, a few bats, and valuable insect species, among others the hermit beetle (Osmoderma barnabita
). Therefore, the alley cannot be perceived only as a component of the road infrastructure. The maintenance of the trees seems to be essential when taking into account the environmental stability of the region.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited