New Book Maps Out Path to Wildlife-Friendly Highways

  • Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity looks at needs and methods for conservation-conscious roads
  • Wildlife Conservation Society scientists and others offer solutions to one of the biggest threats to wildlife populations in the 21st century
  • Authors Beckmann and Hilty discuss emerging principles of road ecology and new processes to mitigate road impacts to wildlife populations

NEW YORK (July 28, 2010) –A new book co-authored and edited by Wildlife Conservations Society scientists offers  the latest  insights into the fight against one of the biggest threats facing wildlife populations in the 21st century – roadways.

Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity – edited by WCS Conservation Scientist Jon Beckmann and WCS North American Program Director Jodi Hilty–details the latest developments in the evolving science of road ecology and provides a “tool-box” for individuals and organizations engaged in reducing road-wildlife impacts. Other editors of the book include Anthony P. Clevenger and Marcel P. Huijser of the Western Transportation Institute of Montana State University.

Today, roadways cover more than one percent of total area within the United States and are the site of vehicular collisions with animals of all shapes and sizes. But the threats posed to wildlife do not end there: roads also decrease access to quality habitat and resources, fragment populations into smaller and more vulnerable subpopulations, and increase exposure to humans and human activity.

WCS has long been involved in researching the role that linear infrastructure such as pipelines, railroads, power lines, and roadways play in negatively impacting wildlife populations and in documenting the critical need for biological corridors—passages used by migrating wildlife in their search of food, mating opportunities and available habitat.

“From salamanders to salmon to grizzlies, the importance of habitat connectivity for wildlife cannot be overstated,” said WCS’s Jon Beckmann. “How we design our highways is of critical importance for countless species. This book provides the reader with an up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of the factors involved in that process. Additionally, the book provides hope that this vital area of conservation science is getting the consideration that it warrants.”

The book, published by Island Press, highlights the cooperative efforts that are bringing together non-governmental organizations, land management agencies, transportation departments and others to reduce the impacts of highways on wildlife.

Landmark case studies illustrated in the book, show how wildlife crossing structures, barrier design, fish culverts, and advances in highway planning can be incorporated into modern infrastructure projects.

“We are increasingly seeing innovative tools and approaches result in road design projects that successfully incorporate conservation priorities,” said WCS’s Jodi Hilty. “This book can be an important resource as more individuals and organizations become mindful of the role roads play in wildlife mortality, habitat fragmentation and other pressures, and work to mitigate those impacts.”

Contact:
Stephen Sautner: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org)
Scott C. Smith: (1-718-220-3698; ssmith@wcs.org)

For interviews with Jon Beckmann, please contact Scott Smith of WCS at 718-220-3698.

To order copies of Safe Passages: Highways, Wildlife and Habitat Connectivity, please contact Angela Osborn at aosborn@islandpress.org.


The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.


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