From roadkill to road ecology: A review of the ecological effects of roads
Transportation infrastructure affects the structure of ecosystems, the dynamics of ecosystem function, and has direct effects on ecosystem components, including their species composition. Clearly, the construction of transport lines results in the direct destruction and removal of existing ecosystems, and the reconfiguration of local landforms. However, transportation systems, and more specifically, roads, have a wide variety of primary, or direct, ecological effects as well as secondary, or indirect, ecological effects on the landscapes that they penetrate. The effects of roads can be measured in both abiotic and biotic components of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The nature of road systems as network structures renders vast areas of the landscape as road-affected, with small patches of isolated habitat remaining beyond the ecological influence of roads. The increasing attention of scientists to the unintended ecological effects of roads has resulted in the emergence of the science of “Road Ecology,” marked with the publication of a multi-authored volume, Road Ecology: Science and Solutions, in 2003.