Large gaps in canopy reduce road crossing by a gliding mammal

Rodney van der Ree, Silvana Cesarini, Paul Sunnucks, Joslin Moore, Andrea Taylor

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54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Roads and traffic reduce landscape connectivity and increase rates of mortality for many species of wildlife. Species that glide from tree to tree may be strongly affected by roads and traffic if the size of the gap between trees exceeds their gliding capability. Not only are wide roads likely to reduce crossing rates, but mortality may also be increased if gliders that do cross have poor landing opportunities. The road-crossing behavior of 47 squirrel gliders (Petaurus norfolcensis) was investigated in southeast Australia using radio-tracking. The proportion of gliders crossing one or both roadways of a freeway where trees were present or absent from the center median was compared to that at single-lane country roads (control). The proportion of gliders crossing the road at control sites (77 ) was similar to the proportion that crossed one or both roadways at the freeway with trees in the median (67 ), whereas only a single male (6 ) crossed the freeway where trees were absent from the median. The frequency of crossing for each individual was also similar at control sites and freeway sites with trees in the median. The almost complete lack of crossing at sites where trees were absent from the median was attributed to the wider gap in canopy (50 a?? 64 m vs. 5 a?? 13 m at sites with trees in the median).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1 - 16
Number of pages16
JournalEcology and Society
Volume15
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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