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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Impacts of roads on bird species richness: A meta-analysis considering road types, habitats and feeding guilds

Kroeger, Svenja B.; Hanslin, Hans M.; Lennartsson, Tommy; D'Amico, Marcello; Kollmann, Johannes; Fischer, Christina; Albertsen, Elena; Speed, James D.M.


Roadsides can harbour remarkable biodiversity; thus, they are increasingly considered as habitats with potential for conservation value. To improve construction and management of roadside habitats with positive effects on biodiversity, we require a quantitative understanding of important influential factors that drive both positive and negative effects of roads. We conducted meta-analyses to assess road effects on bird communities. We spe-cifically tested how the relationship between roads and bird richness varies when considering road type, habitat characteristics and feeding guild association. Overall, bird richness was similar in road habitats compared to non -road habitats, however, the two apparently differ in species composition. Bird richness was lowered by road pres-ence in areas with denser tree cover but did not differ according to road type. Richness differences between hab-itats with and without roads further depended on primary diet of species, and richness of omnivores was positively affected by road presence. We conclude that impacts of roads on bird richness are highly context-dependent, and planners should carefully evaluate road habitats on a case by case basis. This emphasizes the need for further studies that explicitly test for differences in species composition and abundance, to disentangle contexts where a road will negatively affect bird communities, and where it will not. (c) 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


Biodiversity; Edge effect; Habitat fragmentation; Infrastructure; Road ecology; Roadside

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2022, volume: 812, article number: 151478

Authors' information

Kroeger, Svenja B.
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
Hanslin, Hans M.
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
D'Amico, Marcello
Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC)
Kollmann, Johannes
Technical University of Munich
Fischer, Christina
University of Salzburg
Albertsen, Elena
Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
Speed, James D.M.
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

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