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Assessing the effects of a highway on a threatened species using Before–During–After and Before–During–After-Control–Impact designs

AuthorsTorres, Aurora ; Palacín, Carlos ; Seoane, Javier; Alonso López, Juan C.
KeywordsAvoidance behaviour
BACI designs
Impact assessment
Road ecology
Road effects
Steppe birds
Issue Date2011
CitationBiological Conservation, 144(9):2223–2232 (2011)
AbstractDue to the growing awareness of potential impacts of roads, managers demand well-designed studies about the implications of linear infrastructures on ecosystems. We illustrate the application of Before– During–After and Before–During–After-Control–Impact designs (BDA and BDACI) to assess effects of highway construction and operation using a population of great bustards (Otis tarda) as a model. Based on a time series of demographic and distribution data (1997–2009), we developed generalized additive models and classification trees to test the effect of road distance on bustard distribution, identify roadeffect distances and explore the seasonality of these effects. Two control zones were selected to test the changes between construction phases on productivity, and population trends using TRIM models. From the start of the road construction, great bustards tended to avoid close proximity to the highway (ca. 560–750 m threshold distance). The exclusion band was narrower during the breeding season. In addition, family groups were less tolerant to highway operation disturbances, as shown by their higher distance effect (ca. 1300 m). Population trends did not differ between impact and control zones during the construction. However, once the highway was in operation, bustard numbers declined gradually up to 50% in the impact zone, remained stable in the closest control zone, and increased in the zone located at the greatest distance from the highway. The effects on density of family groups were less evident. Our approach provides information relevant to great bustard conservation and suggests methods for obtaining information of interest to road managers, that could be applied to linear infrastructures with others species.
Description10 paginas, 3 figuras, 2 tables y 1 appendix
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2011.05.014
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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