CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ECOLOGICAL ROLE OF UNDERPASSES FOR ANIMALS ON THE H-31 ROUTE IN THE DNIPROPETROVSK REGION
Keywords:highway, motor road, underpasses, wild animals, road deaths, living environment
Roads are a powerful converter of the natural environment. Such objects block the paths of daily and seasonal migrations of higher animals. Ecological crossing structures for animals are used on modern roads to reduce animal mortality and traffic safety. The aim of this paper is to monitor the effectiveness of the use of animal crossings under the highway built on modern technologies in Ukraine.
The material was collected during 2020 on the newly built section of the H-31 highway. The studied area is located between the village of Loboykivka and active construction near the village of Protochi in the Dnipropetrovsk region (Ukraine). The species composition of the animals was assessed by their paw prints and their excrement. To account for animal tracks in the underpasses, artificial control earthen strips 2 m wide were created.
We investigated 10 underpasses and 11 aqueducts (pipe culverts) and a culvert located in the river of the Chaplynka River. Traces of 6 species of large and medium-sized wild animals (foxes, wild boars, ferrets, weasels, martens, roe deer), footprints of micromammalia, as well as domestic animals (domestic cats, dogs, cows) were recorded. No traces of wild animals were found in the underpasses located in the immediate vicinity of the villages and active construction. The reason is a large anthropogenic load.
All the studied transitions are located in the human-transformed part of the landscape, in places with high population density and lack of ecosystems with protective qualities.
The pipe culverts of the investigated section of the H-31 route have a better location. Water pipes are used by animals more often than underpasses. Pipe culverts are used by the same species of animals of medium size as the transitions underpasses, but the number of passages of animals is much larger.
The presence of natural substrate in the transition and vegetation at the entrance to the transition or aque-duct increases the efficiency of their use by animals qualitatively and quantitatively.
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