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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Effectiveness of small road tunnels and fences in reducing amphibian roadkill and barrier effects at retrofitted roads in Sweden

Helldin, Jan Olof; Petrovan, Silviu O.


Schemes to reduce road impacts on amphibians have been implemented for decades in Europe, yet, several aspects on the effectiveness of such schemes remain poorly understood. Particularly in northern Europe, including Sweden, there is a lack of available information on road mitigation for amphibians, which is hampering implementation progress and cost-effectiveness analyses of mitigation options. Here, we present data derived from systematic counts of amphibians during spring migration at three previous hot-spots for amphibian roadkill in Sweden, where amphibian tunnels with guiding fences have been installed. We used the data in combination with a risk model to estimate the number of roadkills and successful crossings before vs. after mitigation and mitigated vs. adjacent non-mitigated road sections. In mitigated road sections, the estimated number of amphibians killed or at risk of being killed by car traffic decreased by 85-100% and the estimated number successfully crossing the road increased by 25-340%. Data, however, suggested fence-end effects that may moderate the reduction in roadkill. We discuss possible explanations for the observed differences between sites and construction types, and implications for amphibian conservation. We show how effectiveness estimates can be used for prioritizing amphibian passages along the existing road network. Finally, we emphasize the importance of careful monitoring of amphibian roadkill and successful crossings before and after amphibian passages are constructed.


Amphibians; Roadkill; Barrier effects; Road mitigation; Effectiveness; Sweden

Published in

2019, Volume: 7, article number: e7518
Publisher: PEERJ INC

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Swedish Biodiversity Centre

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure

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