Efforts to mitigate road effects are now common in new highway construction projects. For effective mitigation of road effects it is important to identify the species whose populations are reduced by roads, so that mitigation efforts can be tailored to those species. We conducted a meta-analysis using data from 75 studies that quantified the relationship between roads and/or traffic and population abundance of at least one species to determine species life history characteristics and behavioral responses to roads and/or traffic that make species or species groups prone to negative road and/or traffic effects. We found that larger mammal species with lower reproductive rates, and greater mobilities, were more susceptible to negative road effects. In addition, more mobile birds were more susceptible to negative road and/or traffic effects than less mobile birds. Amphibians and reptiles were generally vulnerable to negative road effects, and anurans (frogs and toads) with lower reproductive rates, smaller body sizes, and younger ages at sexual maturity were more negatively affected by roads and/or traffic. Species that either do not avoid roads or are disturbed by traffic were more vulnerable to negative population-level effects of roads than species that avoid roads and are not disturbed by traffic. In general, our results imply that priority for mitigation should be directed towards wide-ranging large mammals with low reproductive rates, birds with larger territories, all amphibians and reptiles, and species that do not avoid roads or are disturbed by traffic.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Landscape fragmentation, Life history traits, Meta-analysis, Population abundance, Road mitigation, Road mortality
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.023
Journal Biological Conservation
Citation
Rytwinski, T. (Trina), & Fahrig, L. (2012). Do species life history traits explain population responses to roads? A meta-analysis. Biological Conservation, 147(1), 87–98. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2011.11.023