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High way's and their ecological impact

  1. Apr 7, 2009 #1

    can anyone help out in explaining what impacts highways could have on the ecology and what procedure and equipment one would need to go about checking them.

    I've never done anything on earth science, could someone please help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2009 #2


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    Think about what kind of pollutants you're going to get. What do cars spit out? What do we chuck on roads that that might end up in the surroundings? Also think about the impact it will have on animals. How will something as big, loud and dangerous as a major road affect the way they live and move around?
  4. Apr 8, 2009 #3


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    Also a major highway can effect the areas miles away from it, with feeder roads becoming busier. When the M40 was built near me many villages had to suffer increased traffic and heavy goods vehicles the roads were not designed to take.
  5. Apr 8, 2009 #4
    Thanks, but kind of equipment would I need to test all this? As in, whats the standard? Even for a small research. And how much would it cost?
  6. Apr 8, 2009 #5


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    A lot of it would be by direct observation and survey.

    Impact on animal life would require surveys of animal life in which one would find and count species of mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Then there are statistics of road kills.

    Highways may affect drainage, and one could use satellite images, or direct observation, e.g. flood/rain gauges.

    High departments put pneumatic tubes (hoses) to trigger counters to count traffic volume, which could be recorded with time.
  7. Apr 8, 2009 #6


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    One problem with assessing the impact of a highway on wildlife is that you cannot ascertain this properly after the highway has been built. There have to be baseline surveys made for some period of time before the highway is built, and those surveys need to be continued and/or re-conducted until after the highway is functioning.

    It's not all going to be negative, either. Crows, ravens, turkey vultures and other carrion-eaters are drawn to highways for the free road-kill, and they learn to tolerate the traffic to some extent. Animals that rely on walking to move around can be very negatively impacted. Reptiles and amphibians that are drawn to bodies of water that are no longer on "their" side of the highway can pay a heavy toll. Even more nimble animals like raccoons, deer, etc can misjudge the dangers and be injured or killed.
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