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Wildlife corridors found to be effective

A study by scientists at the University of Florida has shown that all the money and engineering effort being expend...


A study by scientists at the University of Florida has shown that all the money and engineering effort being expended on preserving wildlife corridors across highways and other infrastructure corridors is well spent.

The study by Joshua J. Tewksbury and colleagues tested interactions between patches of holly bushes in the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Male and female holly bushes planted in separate areas connected by a wildlife corridor were 69% more likely to produce fruit than their counterparts planted in equally distant but unconnected areas.

The researchers also examined how well nature corridors encouraged birds in travelling and dispersing seeds. They marked seeds with fluorescent paint and tracked where the seeds reappeared in birds’ droppings. They found that 20 per cent more fluorescent fecal samples were dropped in an area connected by a wildlife corridor than in areas that were not linked to the source.

The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and reported in Scientific American magazine in September. The latter quoted Tewksbury: “Our study suggests that these corridors do help in connecting populations, and theoretically, they should help sustain networks of populations existing in increasingly fragmented landscapes.”