Biodiversity Science ›› 2015, Vol. 23 ›› Issue (6): 824-829.doi: 10.17520/biods.2015022

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Principle and technical parameters for designing wildlife crossings on tourism roads in protected areas

Xiaolin Yu1, 2, Youbing Zhou1, *(), Wenting Xu1, Zongqiang Xie1   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
    2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2015-01-23 Accepted:2015-07-06 Online:2015-12-02
  • Zhou Youbing E-mail:zhouyb@ibcas.ac.cn

Protected areas are crucially important for safeguarding biodiversity, and can provide a sustainable means for generating local community income through nature-based ecotourism. Although tourism roads are thus prerequisites for the development of protected areas, they have a negative impact on wildlife, through direct traffic casualties (mortality), and habitat loss and fragmentation, which can lead to genetic isolation. Wildlife crossings have been proven to be one of the most important ways to alleviate these negative effects. Here, we collected data by completing a literature review, and proposed that pertinence, science, sustainability and validity, and feasibility should be regarded as the four main principles for designing wildlife crossing. A better understanding of the theory regarding road ecology and conservation biology, protection regulations and management plans of protected areas, bio-ecological characteristics of key species, and wildlife habitat and topography along tourism roads may contribute enormously to determine the number, type, location, size and monitoring of wildlife crossings. Furthermore, we suggest that wildlife crossings will work more effectively when they are well designed and constructed, under continuous monitoring and regulation by the administration, and in concert with awareness of both eco-tourists and tour operators driving within the reserve. The use of these crossings may contribute significantly to improving the balance between ecotourism and the conservation of wildlife in protected areas.

Key words: road ecology, tourism road, sustainability and validity, wildlife conservation, technical parameters, eco-tourism consciousness

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