Environmental Management

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 874–889 | Cite as

Hot Spots and Hot Times: Wildlife Road Mortality in a Regional Conservation Corridor

  • Evelyn Garrah
  • Ryan K. Danby
  • Ewen Eberhardt
  • Glenn M. Cunnington
  • Scott Mitchell
Article

Abstract

Strategies to reduce wildlife road mortality have become a significant component of many conservation efforts. However, their success depends on knowledge of the temporal and spatial patterns of mortality. We studied these patterns along the 1000 Islands Parkway in Ontario, Canada, a 37 km road that runs adjacent to the St. Lawrence River and bisects the Algonquin-to-Adirondacks international conservation corridor. Characteristics of all vertebrate road kill were recorded during 209 bicycle surveys conducted from 2008 to 2011. We estimate that over 16,700 vertebrates are killed on the road from April to October each year; most are amphibians, but high numbers of birds, mammals, and reptiles were also found, including six reptiles considered at-risk in Canada. Regression tree analysis was used to assess the importance of seasonality, weather, and traffic on road kill magnitude. All taxa except mammals exhibited distinct temporal peaks corresponding to phases in annual life cycles. Variations in weather and traffic were only important outside these peak times. Getis–Ord analysis was used to identify spatial clusters of mortality. Hot spots were found in all years for all taxa, but locations varied annually. A significant spatial association was found between multiyear hot spots and wetlands. The results underscore the notion that multi-species conservation efforts must account for differences in the seasonality of road mortality among species and that multiple years of data are necessary to identify locations where the greatest conservation good can be achieved. This information can be used to inform mitigation strategies with implications for conservation at regional scales.

Keywords

Road ecology Traffic impacts Wildlife–vehicle collisions Hot spot Conservation biology 

References

  1. Andrews KM, Gibbons JW, Jochimsen DM (2008) Ecological effects of roads on amphibians and reptiles: a literature review. Herpetol Conserv 3:121–143Google Scholar
  2. Aresco MJ (2004) Reproductive ecology of Pseudemys floridana and Trachemys scripta (Testudines: Emyididae) in northwestern Florida. J Herpetol 38:89–96Google Scholar
  3. Aresco MJ (2005) Mitigation measures to reduce highway mortality of turtles and other herpetofauna at a North Florida lake. J Wildl Manag 69:549–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ashley EP, Robinson JT (1996) Road mortality of amphibians, reptiles and other wildlife on the Long Point Causeway, Lake Erie, Ontario. Can Field Nat 110:403–412Google Scholar
  5. Barthelmess EL (2014) Spatial distribution of road-kills and factors influencing road mortality for mammals in Northern New York State. Biodivers Conserv 23:2491–2514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barthelmess EL, Brooks MS (2010) The influence of body-size and diet on road-kill trends in mammals. Biodivers Conserv 19:1611–1629CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beaudry F, deMaynadier PG, Hunter ML Jr (2008) Identifying road mortality threat at multiple spatial scales for semi-aquatic turtles. Biol Conserv 141:2550–2563CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beaudry F, deMaynadier PG, Hunter ML Jr (2010) Identifying hot moments in road-mortality risk for freshwater turtles. J Wildl Manag 74:152–158CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beckmann JP, Clevenger AP, Huijser MP, Hilty JA (eds) (2010) Safe passages: highways, wildlife and habitat connectivity. Island Press, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  10. Böhm M et al (2013) The conservation status of the world’s reptiles. Biol Conserv 157:372–385CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bouchard J, Ford AT, Eigenbrod FE, Fahrig L (2009) Behavioural responses of Northern leopard frogs (Rana pipiens) to roads and traffic: implications for population persistence. Ecol Soc 14:23Google Scholar
  12. Cadman MD, Sutherland DA, Beck GG, Lepage D, Couturier AR (eds) (2007) Atlas of the breeding birds of Ontario—2001–2005. Bird Studies Canada, Environment Canada, Ontario Field Ornithologists, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Ontario Nature, TorontoGoogle Scholar
  13. Ciesiolkiewicz JG, Orlowski G, Elzanowski A (2006) High juvenile mortality of grass snakes Natrix natrix (L.) on a suburban road. Pol J Ecol 54:465–472Google Scholar
  14. Clevenger AP (2012) Mitigating continental scale bottlenecks: how small-scale highway mitigation has large-scale impacts. Ecol Restor 30:300–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clevenger AP, McIvor M, McIvor D, Chruszcz B, Gunson K (2001) Tiger salamander, Ambystoma tigrinum, movements and mortality on the Trans-Canada Highway in southwestern Alberta. Can Field Nat 115:199–204Google Scholar
  16. Clevenger AP, Chruszcz B, Gunson KE (2003) Spatial patterns and factors influencing small vertebrate fauna road-kill aggregations. Biol Conserv 109:15–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Coffin AW (2007) From roadkill to road ecology: a review of the ecological effects of roads. J Transp Geogr 15:396–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) (2011) Wildlife species assessment. Government of Canada, Ottawa. http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct0/index_e.cfm
  19. Congdon JD, Dunham AE, van Loben Sels RC (1993) Delayed sexual maturity and demographics of Blanding’s turtles (Emydoidea blandingii): implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Conserv Biol 7:826–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Congdon JD, Dunham AE, van Loben Sels RC (1994) Demographics of common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina): implications for conservation and management of long-lived organisms. Am Zool 34:397–408Google Scholar
  21. Cunnington GM, Garrah E, Eberhardt E, Fahrig L (2014) Culverts alone do not reduce road mortality in anurans. Ecoscience 21:69–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Cureton JC II, Deaton R (2012) Hot moments and hot spots: identifying factors explaining temporal and spatial variation in turtle road mortality. J Wildl Manag 76:1047–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Danby RK, Slocombe DS (2005) Regional ecology, ecosystem geography and transboundary protected areas in the St Elias Mountains. Ecol Appl 15:405–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. De’ath G, Fabricius KE (2000) Classification and regression trees: a powerful yet simple technique for ecological data analysis. Ecology 81:3178–3192CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dodd CK Jr, Barichivich WJ, Smith LL (1989) Reptiles on highways in north-central Alabama, USA. J Herpetol 23:197–200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Eberhardt E, Mitchell S, Fahrig L (2013) Road kill hot spots do not effectively indicate mitigation locations when past road kill has depressed populations. J Wildl Manag 77:1353–1359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Enge KM, Wood KN (2002) A pedestrian road survey of an upland snake community in Florida. Southeast Nat 1:365–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Environment Canada (2011) National climate data and information archive. Brockville Weather Station, Brockville. http://www.climate.weatheroffice.gc.ca/climateData/dailydata_e.html?StationID=47567&Month=4&Day=23&Year=2012&timeframe=2
  29. Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) (2009) Hot spot analysis (Getis-Ord Gi*) (spatial statistics). http://webhelp.esri.com/ARCGISDESKTOP/9.3/index.cfm?TopicName=Hot_Spot_Analysis_%28Getis-Ord_Gi*%29_%28Spatial_Statistics%29
  30. Fahrig L, Pedlar JH, Pope SE, Taylor PD, Wegner JF (1995) Effect of road traffic on amphibian density. Biol Conserv 73:177–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Forman RTT, Alexander LE (1998) Roads and their major ecological effects. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 29:207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fowle SC (1996) Effects of roadkill mortality on the western painted turtle (Chrysemys picta belli) in the Mission valley, western Montana. In: Evink G, Ziegler D, Garrett P, Berry J (eds) Highways and movement of wildlife: improving habitat connections and wildlife passageways across highway corridors. Report FHWA-PD-96-041. Florida Department of Transportation, Orlando, pp 205–233Google Scholar
  33. Getis A, Ord JK (1992) The analysis of spatial association by use of distance statistics. Geogr Anal 24:189–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Gibbs JP, Shriver WG (2002) Estimating the effects of road mortality on turtle populations. Conserv Biol 16:1647–1652CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Gibbs JP, Steen DA (2005) Trends in sex ratios of turtles in the United States: implications of road mortality. Conserv Biol 19:552–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gibson JD, Merkle DA (2004) Road mortality of snakes in Central Virginia. Banisteria 24:8–14Google Scholar
  37. Glista DJ, DeVault TK, DeWoody JA (2008) Vertebrate road mortality predominantly impacts amphibians. Herpetol Conserv Biol 3:77–87Google Scholar
  38. Gomes L, Grilo C, Silva C, Mira A (2009) Identification methods and deterministic factors of owl roadkill hotspot locations in Mediterranean landscapes. Ecol Res 24:355–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Gunson KE, Clevenger AP, Ford AT, Bissonette JA, Hardy A (2009) A comparison of data sets varying in spatial accuracy used to predict the occurrence of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Environ Manag 44:268–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Gunson KE, Mountrakis G, Quackenbush LJ (2011) Spatial wildlife-vehicle collision models: a review of current work and its application to transportation mitigation projects. J Environ Manag 92:1074–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Harding JH (1997) Amphibians and reptiles of the Great Lakes region. The University of Michigan Press, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
  42. Jochimsen DM (2006) Factors influencing the road mortality of snakes on the Upper Snake River Plain, Idaho. In: Irwin CL, Garrett P, McDermott KP (eds) Proceedings of the international conference on ecology and transportation. Center for Transportation and the Environment, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, pp 351–365Google Scholar
  43. Jochimsen DM, Peterson CR, Andrews KM, Whitfield Gibbons J (2004) A literature review of the effects of roads on amphibians and reptiles and the measures used to minimize those effects. Idaho Fish and Game Department and USDA Forest Service, Boise ID. http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/wildlife/collisionAmphibRep.pdf
  44. Keddy C (1995) The conservation potential of the Frontenac Axis: linking Algonquin Park to the Adirondacks. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, OttawaGoogle Scholar
  45. Koen EL, Bowman J, Sadowski C, Walpole AA (2014) Landscape connectivity for wildlife: development and validation of multispecies linkage maps. Methods Ecol Evol 5:626–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Langen TA, Machniak AA, Crowe EK, Mangan C, Marker DF, Liddle N, Roden B (2007) Methodologies for surveying herpetofauna mortality on rural highways. J Wildl Manag 71:1361–1368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Langen TA, Ogden KM, Schwartking LL (2009) Predicting hot spots of herpetofauna road mortality along highway networks. J Wildl Manag 73:104–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Langen TA, Gunson KE, Scheiner CA, Boulerice JT (2012) Road mortality in freshwater turtles: identifying causes of spatial patterns to optimize road planning and mitigation. Biodivers Conserv 21:3017–3034CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Langton TEJ (ed) (1989) Amphibians and roads: toad tunnel conference proceedings. ACO Polymer Products, SheffordGoogle Scholar
  50. Lesbarrères D, Fahrig L (2012) Measures to reduce population fragmentation by roads: what has worked and how do we know? Trends Ecol Evol 27:374–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lillywhite HB (1987) Temperature, energetics, and physiological ecology. In: Siegel RA, Collins JT, Novak SS (eds) Snakes: ecology and evolutionary biology. Macmillan, New York, pp 422–477Google Scholar
  52. Manepalli URR, Bham GH, Kandada S (2011) Evaluation of hotspots identification using kernel density estimation (K) and Getis-Ord (Gi*) on I-630. In: Proceedings of the 3rd international conference on road safety and simulation. Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington. http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/conferences/2011/RSS/2/Manepalli,UR.pdf
  53. Mazerolle MJ (2004) Amphibian road mortality in response to nightly variations of traffic intensity. Herpetologica 60:45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Peterson CR, Gibson AR, Dorca ME (1993) Snake thermal ecology: The causes and consequences of body temperature variation. In: Seigel RA, Collins JT (eds) Snakes: ecology and behavior. McGraw-Hill, New York, pp 241–314Google Scholar
  55. Ramp D, Caldwell J, Edwards K, Warton D, Croft D (2005) Modelling of wildlife fatality hotspots along the Snowy Mountain Highway in New South Wales, Australia. Biol Conserv 126:474–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rosen PC, Lowe CH (1994) Highway mortality of snakes in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona. Biol Conserv 68:143–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Row JR, Blouin-Demers G, Weatherhead PJ (2007) Demographic effects of road mortality in black ratsnakes (Elaphe obsoleta). Biol Conserv 137:117–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Santos SM, Carvalho F, Mira A (2011) How long do the dead survive on the road? Carcass persistence probability and implications for road-kill monitoring surveys. PLoS ONE 6(9):e25383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shepard DB, Dreslik MJ, Jellen BC, Phillips CA (2008) Reptile road mortality around an oasis in the Illinois Corn Desert with emphasis on the endangered Eastern Massasauga. Copeia 2008:350–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Smith LL, Dodd CK Jr (2003) Wildlife mortality on highway US 441 across Paynes Prairie, Alachua County, Florida. Fla Sci 66:128–140Google Scholar
  61. Steen DA, Gibbs JP (2004) Effects of roads on the structure of freshwater turtle populations. Conserv Biol 18:1143–1148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Stephenson B (2001) The Algonquin-to-Adirondack conservation initiative: a key macro-landscape linkage in eastern North America. In: Harmon D (ed) Crossing boundaries in park management. The George Wright Society, Hancock, pp 303–310Google Scholar
  63. Stuart SN, Chanson JS, Cox NA, Young BE, Rodrigues ASL, Fischman DL, Waller RW (2004) Status and trends of amphibian declines and extinctions worldwide. Science 306(5702):1783–1786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Trombulak SC, Frissell CA (2000) Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities. Conserv Biol 14:18–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2010) Biosphere Reserve Information, Frontenac Arch. http://www.unesco.org/madbdb/br/brdir/directory/biores.asp?mode=all&code=CAN+12
  66. van der Grift EA, van der Ree R, Fahrig L, Findlay S, Houlahan J, Jaeger JAG, Klar N, Madrinan LF, Olson F (2013) Evaluating the effectiveness of road mitigation measures. Biodivers Conserv 22:425–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. van der Ree R, Jaeger JAG, van der Grift EA, Clevenger AP (2011) Effects of roads and traffic on wildlife populations and landscape function: road ecology is moving towards larger scales. Ecol Soc 16(1):48. http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss1/art48/
  68. Williams BK, Brown ED (2014) Adaptive management: from more talk to real action. Environ Manag 53:465–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Evelyn Garrah
    • 1
  • Ryan K. Danby
    • 1
  • Ewen Eberhardt
    • 2
    • 3
  • Glenn M. Cunnington
    • 4
  • Scott Mitchell
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Environmental StudiesQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada
  2. 2.Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment CanadaGatineauCanada
  3. 3.Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory and Department of Geography & Environmental StudiesCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  4. 4.Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory and Department of BiologyCarleton UniversityOttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations