Study: Some forest roads bad for wildlife

Oct 31, 2006

A U.S. study suggests forest roads used for such activities as logging or mineral removal can negatively affect wildlife for long periods of time.

"The problem we revealed points to a potential failure of forest managers and policy makers to realize the effect of roads reaches well beyond their boundaries and that abandonment or the decommissioning of roads does not mean detrimental ecological effects disappear," said University of Missouri-Columbia biology Professor Ray Semlitsch, who led the research.

The study monitored salamander populations in the southern Appalachian Mountain region in North Carolina. Investigators found salamander populations were affected for approximately 115 feet on both sides of both current and abandoned, relatively narrow, low-use roads.

"Extraction of timber 80 years ago has created a significant ecological 'footprint' ... that supersedes regeneration of the forest itself," said Semlitsch. "Assuming current timber management practices harvest trees at intervals of 80 to 100 years, footprints of logging roads from past harvests will not be gone before a new footprint is laid down, and effects will accumulate over time, eventually fragmenting forests into ever-smaller patches of suitable habitat."

The research has been accepted for publication in the journal Conservation Biology.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: 'Shocking' underground water loss in US drought

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China arms itself for difficult 'war on pollution'

Jul 08, 2014

Having declared "war on pollution", China is arming itself with tougher weapons from new courts to daily fines and shutting down offenders altogether, in what analysts call promising steps but no guarantee ...

Is there hope for salmon in Northwest cities?

Jul 02, 2014

Swimming through cities is a fact of life for many salmon in the Northwest. With all their pavement and pollution, cities add to the challenges salmon face as they make their way to the ocean and back to ...

Africa's oldest national park counts on sustainability

Jun 29, 2014

People living in and around Africa's oldest wildlife reserve—threatened by armed groups and oil prospectors, are pinning their hopes on sustainable development projects for energy, agriculture and tourism.

Making progress on deforestation

Jun 24, 2014

In 2005, Brazil was losing more forest each year than any other country. The good news is that today, Brazil has reduced deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 70 percent, according to a recent study. ...

Recommended for you

'Shocking' underground water loss in US drought

3 hours ago

A major drought across the western United States has sapped underground water resources, posing a greater threat to the water supply than previously understood, scientists said Thursday.

User comments : 0