Road and road construction effects on habitat use of small mammals and birds in Zoige alpine wetland
Qiang Dai, Zuoping Yuan, Jindong Zhang, Yong Yang, Ming Zhang, Qiang Zhang, Haijun Gu, Zhijun Liu, Yi Jian, Yuezhao Wang
Biodiv Sci. 2006, 14 (2):
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To investigate the effects of road and road construction on habitat use of wildlife, we surveyed the distribution of small mammals and birds in the vicinity of two roads, one operational and one under construc-tion, in Zoige alpine wetland, Sichuan. To investigate mammals, average herb height and herb coverage, we set up eight plots on each side of the two roads. In each plot, we set up seven subplots at various distances, i.e. 10 m, 20 m, 50 m, 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, and 800 m away from the roads. In each subplot we established three 10 m×10 m grids. We counted burrows of Ochotona curzoniae and mounds of Myospalax baileyi to calculate density. We also set up eight plots on one side of the road under construction to record the species and number of birds. In each plot, we set up 500 m-long-transects at distances of 50 m, 200 m, and 400 m away from the road. The results showed that the average density of burrows of O. curzoniae peaked in grids 400 m from edge of road under construction where it was significantly higher than that of grids 10 m from road edge. However, for operational road, the average density of burrows was highest in grids 200 m from road edge, and no significant differences were found among grids at different distances. As for the density of mounds of M. baileyi, there was no significant difference among the grids at different distances from both roads. The average density of mound of M. baileyi peaked in grids 100 m from working road edge, while it peaked in grids 10 m from edge of road under construction. In general, the density of both Passeriformes and Falconiformes birds tended to increase with the distance away from the roads while this trend was not found in bird richness. The Passeriformes birds were significantly denser in transects at 400 m than in those at 200 m and 50 m, whereas the Falconiformes birds showed no significant variation. In conclusion, the road-effect zone for Ochotona curzoniae is 400 m wide, whereas for birds, especially Falconiformes, it is wider than 400 m.