Join us on your lunch break at Virtual 4TH SPACE over six days in July to hear from Concordia students and professors as they discuss their research on sustainability in general and the climate emergency in particular.
Originally scheduled as part of the now postponed cross-disciplinary conference Sustainability and the Climate Crisis, each of these six talks will highlight the varied research Concordians are currently undertaking to tackle the unfolding environmental emergency.
Road mortality surveys: A useful tool in restoring connectivity between wildlife populations
Roads and traffic significantly increase mortality rates in wildlife populations and act as movement barriers blocking access to important resources for many species. We designed, tested and implemented a standardized protocol to collect road mortality data along Highway 10 that runs between Montreal and Sherbrook through the Northern Green Mountain linkage of the Northern Appalachian-Acadian ecoregion. We conducted 82 road mortality surveys along this high-traffic 4-lane highway to assess the range of species affected, quantify the amount of road mortality, identify roadkill hotspots and coldspots, evaluate their relationship with the location of wildlife corridors, and propose priority locations for road mitigation measures. One driver and two observers surveyed the 40 km study area driving 30 km/hr in sessions of 10 consecutive days, alternating between morning and evening surveys between May 14th and August 29th of 2019. They recorded GPS coordinates for 212 animal carcasses and measured their sizes. It was possible to identify the species of 192 of the carcasses found, including 83 medium sized mammals, 59 birds, 22 amphibians, 16 reptiles, 22 small mammals, and 10 large mammals. The roadkill locations were clustered for most species. We will present road mortality hotspots and coldspots, compare them to existing wildlife corridors across the highway, and suggest potential road mitigation measures. Once road mitigation efforts will be established, future research will be able to evaluate the success of these efforts using the protocol we developed for collecting road mortality data along autoroute 10 in a BACI study design (Before-After-Control-Impact). The results of this study will help guide future investments towards mitigating road mortality and re-establishing connectivity between wildlife populations north and south of the highway.
Presented by Steffy Velosa.
Reducing roadkill based on mortality reduction graphs: Where are wildlife fences needed most urgently?
To reduce the negative effects of roads and traffic on wildlife populations, fencing usually is the most important component of roadkill reduction, because wildlife passages without fencing, in general, do not reduce roadkill. Understanding where and why wildlife-vehicle collisions occur can inform planners about where mitigation measures would be placed most effectively. However, it is not clear how the choice of scales influences the results and how the locations of the warm- and coldspots should be included in the decision-making. We used roadkill data of reptiles and medium-sized mammals from three roads and applied multiple scales of analysis to answer two questions: (1) Are there thresholds in the effect of the extent of fencing (total fence length) on the expected reduction in road mortality? (2) What are the effects of varying scales and varying confidence levels on the road section prioritization results for fencing? We used the software Siriema to identify hotspots, warmspots, and coldspots of road mortality at multiple scales. The choice of scales affected the amount of hot-, warm-, and coldspots identified. When roadkill data are analyzed at a smaller scale (e.g. 100 m), there are more hotspots identified, but combined they cover a shorter overall length of the road than hotspots at larger scales. Our study shows how identifying hotspots, warmspots, and coldspots at multiple scales allows for a more comprehensive approach for locating and prioritizing road sections for wildlife fencing. We discuss the existence of thresholds in the amount of total fencing needed, the importance of considering the fence-end effect when defining the length of the fences to be installed, and the FLOMS trade-off: “Few-Long-Or-Many-Short fences”. Based on these results, we propose an Adaptive Fence Implementation Plan with steps to prioritize road sections for wildlife fencing.
Zeynab Yousefzadeh: Using life cycle assessment to identify opportunities for improving the environmental performance in emerging technologies: The case of thermal sprayed coating system for water distribution pipes freeze protection.