Roads as a contributor to landscape-scale variation in bird communities
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Roads and their traffic can affect wildlife over large areas and, in regions with dense road networks, may influence a high proportion of the ecological landscape. We assess the abundance of 75 bird species in relation to roads across Great Britain. Of these, 77% vary significantly in abundance with increasing road exposure, just over half negatively so. The effect distances of these negative associations average 700m from a road, covering over 70% of Great Britain and over 40% of the total area of terrestrial protected sites. Species with smaller national populations generally have lower relative abundance with increasing road exposure, whereas the opposite is true for more common species. Smaller-bodied and migratory species are also more negatively associated with road exposure. By creating environmental conditions that benefit generally common species at the expense of others, road networks may echo other anthropogenic disturbances in bringing about large-scale simplification of avian communities.
Cooke , S C , Balmford , A , Donald , P F , Newson , S E & Johnston , A 2020 , ' Roads as a contributor to landscape-scale variation in bird communities ' , Nature Communications , vol. 11 , 3125 . https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16899-x
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DescriptionFunding: The BBS is jointly funded by the BTO, JNCC and RSPB. Stuart Newson is supported by the BTO’s Young Scientists’ Programme. Sophia C. Cooke is funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (RG81247).
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