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How are biodiversity and dispersal of species affected by the management of roadsides? A systematic map

In many parts of the world, roadsides are regularly managed for traffic-safety reasons. Hence, there are similarities between roadsides and certain other managed habitats, such as wooded pastures and mown or grazed grasslands. These habitats have declined rapidly in Europe during the last century.

Claes Bernes / Published on 10 October 2017

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Bernes, C. Bullock, J.M., Jakobsson, S., Rundlöf, M., Verheyen, K. and Lindborg, R. (2017). How are biodiversity and dispersal of species affected by the management of roadsides? A systematic map. Environmental Evidence.

On the road in Sweden: this study maps available evidence on biodiversity along roadsides.

Via a systematic literature review, the authors develop a systematic map that provides an overview of the available evidence on how biodiversity is affected by various forms of roadside management, and how such management influences the dispersal of species along roads or roadsides.

For many species historically associated with meadows or pastures, roadsides may function as new primary habitats or as dispersal corridors in fragmented landscapes. Current recommendations for roadside management to promote conservation values are largely based on studies of plants in semi-natural grasslands, although such areas often differ from roadsides in terms of environmental conditions and disturbance regimes. Moreover, roadsides provide habitat not only for plants but also for many insects.

For these reasons, stakeholders in Sweden have emphasised the need for more targeted management recommendations, based on actual studies of roadside biodiversity. The systematic map is of value to a range of actors, including managers and policymakers.

The map provides a key to finding concrete guidance for conservation- and restoration-oriented roadside management from published research.

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SEI author

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10.1186/s13750-017-0103-1 Open access
Topics and subtopics
Land : Ecosystems

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