Title

Use of fauna road-crossing structures in north-eastern New South Wales

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Hayes, IF & Goldingay, RL 2009, 'Use of fauna road-crossing structures in north-eastern New South Wales', Australian Mammalogy, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 89-95.

The publisher's version of this article is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/AM09007

Peer Reviewed

Peer-Reviewed

Abstract

The vast network of roads around the world has had a significant effect on wildlife and ecosystems through habitat fragmentation, reduced dispersal and mortality by collision with vehicles. Road agencies worldwide now frequently install dedicated structures to facilitate the safe crossing of roads by wildlife. We conducted surveys to determine the use of dedicated wildlife overpasses and nearby underpasses at two locations on the Pacific Highway in north-eastern New South Wales. Road-kill surveys were conducted to provide some understanding of the species commonly killed and whether the rate of road-kill was lower at one location where crossing-structures were located. Use of the crossing-structures by wildlife was monitored with sand-transects. The most frequent users were macropods, bandicoots and rodents. Macropods made greater use of overpasses (n≤104 tracks) than underpasses (n≤36), whereas underpasses were used more by bandicoots (n≤87) and rodents (n≤82) than were overpasses (n≤28, n≤15, respectively). We identified 78 road-kills of 21 species on two sections of the Pacific Highway over a 7-week period. Bandicoots (n≤16) and macropods (n≤9) were the most frequently observed victims. The mortality of wildlife was lower along the highway section with the crossing-structures (0.04road-killskm-1) than it was along the highway section without structures (0.15road-killskm-1). The lack of replication precludes any firm conclusion that the crossing-structures reduced road mortality but the high level of use of the crossing-structures by species that were common victims of road-kill suggests an influence. © 2009 Australian Mammal Society