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Impacts and potential mitigation of road mortality for hedgehogs in Europe

Moore, L. J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3562-8709, Petrovan, S. O., Baker, P. J., Bates, A. J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7854-5260, Hicks, H. L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1325-2293, Perkins, S. E. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7457-2699 and Yarnell, R. W. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6584-7374 (2020) Impacts and potential mitigation of road mortality for hedgehogs in Europe. Animals, 10 (9). 1523. ISSN 92775

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/ani10091523

Abstract/Summary

Transport infrastructure is a pervasive element in modern landscapes and continues to expand to meet the demands of a growing human population and its associated resource consumption. Road-induced mortality is often thought to be a major contributor to the marked declines of European hedgehog populations. This review synthesizes available evidence on the population-level impacts of road mortality and the threat to population viability for the five hedgehog species in Europe. Local and national studies suggest that road mortality can cause significant depletions in population sizes, predominantly removing adult males. Traffic collisions are a probable cause of fragmentation effects, subsequently undermining ecological processes such as dispersal, as well as the genetic variance and fitness of isolated populations. Further studies are necessary to improve population estimates and explicitly examine the consequences of sex- and age-specific mortality rates. Hedgehogs have been reported to use crossing structures, such as road tunnels, yet evaluations of mitigation measures for population survival probability are largely absent. This highlights the need for robust studies that consider population dynamics and genetics in response to mitigation. In light of ongoing declines of hedgehog populations, it is paramount that applied research is prioritised and integrated into a holistic spatial planning process.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:92887
Uncontrolled Keywords:collision, demography, fragmentation, hedgehogs, mitigation, movement, population viability, road ecology, road mortality
Publisher:MDPI

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