Railways as Barriers for Wildlife: Current Knowledge and Future Steps

Organização: CEF/CEABN

Data: 22 de junho :: 12h30 às 13h30

Local: Sala PF 1.6 (Auditório Florestal)

Tema: "Railways as Barriers for Wildlife: Current Knowledge and Future Steps"

Orador: Rafael Barrientos Yuste (Theoretical Ecology and Biodiversity, and Infraestruturas de Portugal Biodiversity Chair, CIBIO/InBio & CEABN/InBio, Portugal)


Railways can cause both physical and behavioural barriers to wildlife movement, as well as disturbance to populations living close to them. Wildlife-train collisions are an important source of mortality for several species. The consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation due to railways alone remain largely unexplored. Barrier effects have mainly been mitigated with wildlife passes, being the effectiveness of this tool the most studied topic in railway ecology. Methods formerly employed to monitor pass usage, like track beds or video-surveillance, are now been replaced by molecular ones. Among the latter, genetic fingerprinting allows individual-based approaches. Even more importantly, genetic sampling allows for the assessment of functional connectivity, which is closely linked to successful reproduction and population viability, variables not necessarily coupled with crossing rates. There is strong evidence that railway verges offer new habitats for generalist species and opportunist individuals, a point that deserves to be experimentally explored in order to find wildlife-friendly policies. Preventing animals from crossing (e.g., by building fences), should be reserved for collision hotspots, as it increases barrier effects. Instead, it has been shown that warning signals or pole barriers effectively reduce collisions without increasing barrier effects. In this respect we argue that computer simulations are a promising field to investigate potential impact scenarios.


Para aceder ao Programa de Seminários CEF/CEABN: Ecologia, Florestas e Conservação para a Primavera 2016, clique aqui