Special Issue "Transportation Infrastructure Impacts on Biodiversity in Emerging Economies"

A special issue of Diversity (ISSN 1424-2818). This special issue belongs to the section "Biodiversity Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2021) | Viewed by 6022

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Clara Grilo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
CESAM - Centre for Environmental and Marine Studies, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: road-kill; barrier effect; highway impacts; conservation biology
Dr. Anthony P. Clevenger
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59715, USA
Interests: landscape connectivity; carnivore conservation; road ecology; road impact mitigation
Dr. Aliza le Roux
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Zoology and Entomology, University of the Free State, Qwaqwa, Private Bag X13, Phuthaditjihaba 9866, South Africa
Interests: behavioural ecology; cognitive ecology; mammalogy; road ecology; small carnivores; urban ecology
Dr. Bilal Habib
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Animal Ecology and Conservation Biology, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun 248001, India
Interests: carnivore conservation and connectivity; human wildlife conflict; road ecology; conservation biology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Diversity is going to publish a Special Issue entitled “Transportation Infrastructure Impacts on Biodiversity in Emerging Economies. In this Special Issue, we seek high quality research articles that will advance our understanding of transportation infrastructure impacts on biodiversity conservation and help inform science-based solutions to rapidly expanding road networks worldwide. Transportation infrastructure is defined as roads and railways.

Roughly 25 million kilometres of new roads are expected to be constructed by 2050, mostly through the expansion of road networks into some of the world’s most diverse and biologically rich ecosystems. In Asia alone, the Asian Development Bank estimates that $1.7 trillion of infrastructure investments is needed per year until 2030 to maintain the Asia region’s growth momentum, tackle poverty, and respond to climate change. In Africa, 33 development corridors are operational, under construction, or planned. Combined, they traverse 38 countries and total 53,000 km in length. The South American boom consists of >600 projects worth $200 billion and lays out more than 100,000 km of new roads.

The impacts of roads and railways have been well documented, including their indirect role in deforestation and biodiversity loss. In the last 30 years, most research on transportation infrastructure impacts on biodiversity has been published in developed countries and temperate regions. Tropical ecosystems are especially vulnerable to road and railway impacts due to the ecological specialization of species that live there. The impacts of roads and railways, and practical solutions to mitigate them, are often qualitatively and quantitatively different in nations with emerging economies and tropical regions. There is a clear and urgent need to increase understanding of these impacts, devise science-based solutions to mitigate them, and communicate relevant case studies that may inform other jurisdictions.

The aim of this issue is to showcase three continents where transportation infrastructure networks are expanding at an unprecedented rate, threatening the world’s most abundant biodiversity and complex ecosystems – Africa, Asia, and Latin America. We seek written contributions that clearly and succinctly address current ecological effects of road/railway systems at the individual, population and ecosystem level; evaluations of measures to mitigate impacts; innovative policy instruments and funding partnerships for research and mitigation; transboundary and ecosystem level initiatives to assess and mitigate impacts, novel methods and research tools, and valued case studies that can be applied to similar ecosystem, political, and cultural contexts.

Dr. Clara Grilo
Dr. Anthony P. Clevenger
Dr. Aliza le Roux
Dr. Bilal Habib
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diversity is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • road effects
  • wildlife
  • mitigation
  • road planning and design
  • best-practices guidelines
  • ecological modeling

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Safe Passage or Hunting Ground? A Test of the Prey-Trap Hypothesis at Wildlife Crossing Structures on NH 44, Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra, India
Diversity 2022, 14(5), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/d14050312 - 20 Apr 2022
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Abstract
Crossing structures are widely accepted mitigation measures used to offset the impacts of roads in ecologically sensitive areas that serve as important animal corridors. However, altered interspecies interactions at crossing structures may reduce the potency of these structures for some species and groups. [...] Read more.
Crossing structures are widely accepted mitigation measures used to offset the impacts of roads in ecologically sensitive areas that serve as important animal corridors. However, altered interspecies interactions at crossing structures may reduce the potency of these structures for some species and groups. Anecdotes of predation events at crossing structures have necessitated the assessment of predator–prey interactions at crossing structures. We investigated the ‘prey-trap’ hypothesis at nine crossing structures on a highway in central India adjacent to a tiger reserve by comparing the geometric mean latencies between successive prey, predator and free-ranging dog camera trap capture events at the crossing structures. Among all interactions, prey–predator latencies were the shortest, and significantly lower than prey–dog and predator–prey latencies. Prey–predator sequences involving wild dogs had the shortest average latencies (65.6 ± 9.7 min). Prey–predator latencies decreased with increasing crossing structure width; however, these crossing structures are also the sites that are most frequently used by wildlife. Results indicate that the crossing structures presently do not act as ‘prey-traps’ from wild predators or free-ranging dogs. However, measures used to alleviate such prospects, such as heterogeneity in structure design and increase in vegetation cover near crossing structures, are recommended. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Relative Impacts of Roadkill and Nest Poaching on the Population Viability of the Blue-and-Yellow Macaw, Ara ararauna (Aves: Psittaciformes), in a Brazilian National Park
Diversity 2021, 13(12), 652; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13120652 - 08 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 857
Abstract
The blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) is suffering from higher roadkill rates (RK) at the Emas National Park (ENP), an important Brazilian National Park in the Cerrado biome. This species is also a victim of nest poaching for illegal trade. We modeled [...] Read more.
The blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) is suffering from higher roadkill rates (RK) at the Emas National Park (ENP), an important Brazilian National Park in the Cerrado biome. This species is also a victim of nest poaching for illegal trade. We modeled the blue-and-yellow macaw population’s viability in ENP and how this viability is affected by roadkill and nest poaching. We hereby report that the species is critically at risk and could be extinct in about a decade when considering both threats. Without considering any threat, 150 individuals are necessary to maintain a viable population. When individuals are harvested at a roadkill rate of 0.008 individuals/km/year and at twice this level, the viability figures increase to 4500 and 7500 birds, respectively. For nest poaching, we estimated that 2000 individuals are required to maintain a viable population. When both threats are present, 5000 individuals are necessary. The dynamics of the population are highly sensitive to the age at which females reproduce for the first time and the proportion of reproducing adult females, followed by the rate of adult survival. Our model demonstrates how even a non-threatened highly mobile species, such as the blue-and-yellow macaw, may be at risk due to human activities. Full article
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Article
Prediction of Sites with a High Probability of Wild Mammal Roadkill Using a Favourability Function
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 585; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110585 - 17 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Roads are one of the main causes of loss of biodiversity, with roadkill one of the main causes of mortality. The aim of this research was to identify sites with a high probability of roadkill of medium and large mammals, and the environmental [...] Read more.
Roads are one of the main causes of loss of biodiversity, with roadkill one of the main causes of mortality. The aim of this research was to identify sites with a high probability of roadkill of medium and large mammals, and the environmental variables that would explain it. We used the favourability function (F) to build the predictive models. There were 57 explanatory variables, and we collected 685 records of 10 species of medium and large native wild mammals from the ECOBIO Uruguay databases. They were grouped into native forest and grassland species, according to the main habitat. Two models were developed, one with all the variables and one with the anthropogenic variables. For both groups, the model obtained with all the variables was the most significant according to the evaluation indices used. This made it possible to identify the hot spots of roadkill (F > 0.6) for each of the groups. The anthropic variables were the ones that best explained these hot spots. This allowed the identification of sites where the probability of roadkill is high and requires a monitoring plan to implement mitigation measures in the future. Full article
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Article
Diversity and Abundance of Roadkilled Bats in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest
Diversity 2021, 13(7), 335; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13070335 - 20 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1663
Abstract
Faunal mortality from roadkill has a negative impact on global biodiversity, and bats are among the roadkilled animals. In South America, the Atlantic Forest covers southeastern Brazil, a region which sustains a large bat diversity. In this biome, the Sooretama reserves are crossed [...] Read more.
Faunal mortality from roadkill has a negative impact on global biodiversity, and bats are among the roadkilled animals. In South America, the Atlantic Forest covers southeastern Brazil, a region which sustains a large bat diversity. In this biome, the Sooretama reserves are crossed by the federal highway BR-101, one of the busiest in Brazil. We analyzed bats roadkilled along the 25 km stretch of highway that crosses the Sooretama reserves. Data were collected between the years 2010 and 2015. In total, 773 individuals distributed among 47 bat species were roadkilled during this period. The insectivorous feeding guild was the most affected, accounting for 25 species and 74% of the recorded roadkill, and those flying in the open area were the most frequently roadkilled (41.9%). Bat mortality rates did not differ between months of the year. However, the relation between rainy days and roadkill was negative. Monitoring by foot was more efficient than by car for detection of bat carcasses. Radars with a speed limit below 60 km/h reduced the rates of roadkill. The diversity of deceased bats found in this study represents 40% of the known species in the Atlantic Forest, and is the largest among current studies of species killed on highways globally. The present study raises concerns about the high diversity and abundance of roadkilled insectivorous bats and the conservation of these animals in the Neotropical region. Full article
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Review

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Review
Biodiversity and Transportation Infrastructure in the Republic of Korea: A Review on Impacts and Mitigation in Developing the Country
Diversity 2021, 13(11), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/d13110519 - 22 Oct 2021
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Abstract
The construction and continued use of transportation infrastructure, specifically roads, has had a significant global impact on biodiversity and the environment. The Republic of Korea, or South Korea, has a road density of 1.13 km/km2. So far, three nationwide studies about [...] Read more.
The construction and continued use of transportation infrastructure, specifically roads, has had a significant global impact on biodiversity and the environment. The Republic of Korea, or South Korea, has a road density of 1.13 km/km2. So far, three nationwide studies about vertebrate road-killed species have been reported, showing bias towards medium to large mammals, the most common victims being the Korean water deer (Hydropotes inermis), Korean hare (Lepus coreanus), Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus), and the common raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides). Road-kills, or wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs), tend to occur in or near preferred habitat types or in highly fragmented areas, with roads additionally being linked to habitat fragmentation and loss. Alongside WVCs and habitat effects, information about other adverse effects on biodiversity is scant, although there are reports that heavy metals and other pollutants from road runoff impact marine biodiversity, vegetation, soil, and groundwater. Furthermore, roads have been linked to a prevalence of invasive plant species. To mitigate road impacts, the South Korean government has constructed, with mixed results, 530 wildlife crossing structures, mainly including overpasses and tunnels. To mitigate road impacts more effectively, the country will need more construction, monitoring, and consistent management of wildlife crossing structures. Further, incorporating plans for wildlife crossing structures in early stages of road development will be required. Full article
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