Scale, land cover, and wildlife-vehicle collisions in the world’s largest freshwater wetland

Authors: Scott Markwith*, Florida Atlantic University, Aaron Evans, Florida Atlantic University
Topics: Biogeography, Animal Geographies, South America
Keywords: roadkill, wildlife-vehicle collisions, land cover, satellite imagery
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM
Room: Napoleon Foyer/Common St. Corridor, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Scientists typically follow two main approaches for examining the factors influencing wildlife-vehicle collisions, 1) road segmentation and buffering, and 2) roadkill event buffering, and only rarely have these approaches been tested at multiple scales. The objective of this study was to examine the scales at which land cover patterns influence the occurrence of wildlife-vehicle collisions along the main transportation route through the southern Brazilian Pantanal region. The specific research questions include: 1) do the scales at which land cover influences roadkill events differ among species, and 2) do the factors that influence the occurrence of roadkill events differ among species in the Pantanal. The four species most frequently involved in collisions were examined, and represent a diversity of species among taxonomic classes, i.e. 2 mammals, 1 reptile, and 1 bird, and within mammals 1 rodent and 1 carnivore. The analysis was conducted using the roadkill event buffering approach, and sampling the proportion of land cover classes from classified medium resolution satellite imagery at three buffer radii. The best logistic regression models based on AIC and the coefficient of variation included variables sampled with 100 m buffers for Caiman yacare and Cerdocyon thous and 500 m buffers for Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris and Caracara plancus. Models also differed in the influence of land cover, elevation, and temporal variables, and aligned with species specific habitat use and behavioral patterns. Linking mortality events with seasonal variations, habitats, and landscape types within the road vicinity may facilitate actions that reduce collisions and their impacts.

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