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Helldin JO, Petrovan SO.2019. Effectiveness of small road tunnels and fences in reducing amphibian roadkill and barrier effects; case studies of retrofitted roads in Sweden. PeerJ Preprints7:e27530v2https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27530v2
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. The estimated number of amphibians killed or at risk of being killed by car traffic decreased by 91–100% and the estimated number successfully crossing the road increased by 25–340% at mitigated road sections. 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 emphasise the importance of careful monitoring of amphibian roadkill and successful crossings before and after amphibian passages are constructed.
Minor changes in the text have been made after suggestions from a reviewer.
Detailed description of study sites and field methods