Researchers at the Autonomous University of Madrid have analysed 43 walkways used by vertebrates to quantify the importance of these structures, which facilitate animals’ natural movements and reduce mortality caused by vehicles and, consequently, traffic accidents.
Researchers from the Department of Ecology at the Autonomous University of Madrid and the CEDEX (Ministry of Public Works) have spent several years studying how various animal species use the wildlife walkways and other structures that enable them to cross highways. According to the scientists, these crossings, which may be specifically designed for the purpose, or have mixed use (drains, subways and bridges) reduce traffic accidents through collisions with animals.
“The effectiveness of these structures is a key feature in wildlife conservation, particularly bearing in mind the relentless growth of communication networks, which is leading to an increasingly fragmented countryside, full of barriers to wildlife that are at times impossible to cross,” Cristina Mata, researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid, told SINC.
The study, published in the most recent issue of the Journal of Environmental Management, has enabled an evaluation to be carried out of the design of structures that stop animals crossing the tarmac and reduce the accident rate on Spanish roads. According to data from the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT), there were 10,000 traffic accidents caused by collisions with animals on roads in 2006 alone, resulting in 1,000 human injuries and 23 deaths.
Of the 43 structures analysed using digital photography techniques and other more traditional means, such as footprints left on a powdered marble surface, the tracks of 424 different animals were recorded between the months of March and June 2001. Mata says that this “shows how the construction of walkways specifically for the use of wildlife is justified, while the adaptation of drains or increasing the size of existing structures should also be borne in mind because of the attraction of these structures for certain species and their relatively low cost”.
The work was carried out on part of the A-42 highway between Camarzana de Tera (km 34, in the province of Zamora) and Orense (km 217). This four-lane road is fenced along its length and was opened to traffic in 1998. It is used each day by about 4,500 vehicles, 23% of them lorries, which could endanger the lives of vertebrate populations living in the area.
A solution to reduce accidents involving wild boar and deer
Lizards, snakes, small rodents such as mice, shrews, moles and rats, Iberian hares, weasels, wild cats, wolves and dogs are among the animals identified, as well as wild boar and deer. On average, the researchers registered 0.99 animal tracks per day during the study period.
The results show that 17 different animal species use the structures that cross the road. One of the most commonly recorded in all the various structures were foxes, with an average of 0.27 crossings per day. Other species such as badgers also showed high usage. The results obtained for wild boar, as well as for roe deer and other deer, support the importance of building large crossing points specifically designed for these animals.
SINC Team | alfa
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
24.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences
24.10.2016 | Life Sciences