Garriga N, Santos X , Montori A, Richter-Boix A, Franch M, Llorente GA
The extension of road networks is considered one of the major factors affecting fauna survival. Roadkill has been documented widely and affects all taxonomic groups. Although roadkill is associated mainly with traffic density, some life-history traits of species and the area surrounding roads are expected to modify number of roadkills both taxonomically and geographically. Here we studied the number of roadkills of vertebrates in an extensive region in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula. We surveyed 820 km of 41 roads in two different seasons (spring and autumn), that differ in traffic intensity. In addition, we covered zones with distinct climatic characteristics and levels of protection of the surrounding habitats. Amphibians showed the highest number of roadkills whereas reptiles, birds and mammals had similar rates. General Linear Model tests showed no differences in roadkills by climatic region; however, differences in number of roadkills were linked to protection status, with the highest number of casualties in highly protected areas. Redundancy Analysis demonstrated that the number of amphibians and reptiles killed was associated with roads in highly protected areas whereas that of mammals and birds was linked to unprotected areas. Protected areas often receive many visitors, which in turn may increase wildlife casualties as a result of greater traffic density. We recommend that correction measures be taken to reduce the high number of vertebrate fauna killed along roads that cross protected areas.
Journal: Biodiversity and Conservation