Image Credit: Fabiana
November 8, 2023
My name is Bibiana Terra Dasoler, I am a biologist, with a master’s degree and I am currently a doctoral candidate in Ecology at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. Since 2017, I have been part of the Road and Railway Ecology Nucleus (NERF/UFRGS), where I dedicate myself to the study of the impact of roads and railways on wildlife.
I became interested in the topic during my undergraduate career, around 2014, when I learned about NERF/UFRGS. However, it was in 2017 that I began to delve deeper into the topic, especially in regards to the impact of collisions between vehicles and wildlife on the roads. As I became more familiar with the ecology of roads (and railroads), my interest grew. During my master’s degree (2018-2020), I worked on railroads, quantifying the number of animals that die and planning strategies to mitigate those fatalities. Now, in my PhD, my interest is even more focused on mitigation planning, both in terms of reducing connectivity and reducing fatalities.
Our initiative arose driven by our curiosity and the need to answer questions such as “What factors are associated with the use of wildlife passage structures?” and “What type and design of structure is best for different species?” Although these questions seem simple, we still do not have comprehensive answers.
Although many researchers monitor crossing structures, data is often not available, hindering our understanding of how these structures can help reduce the impacts they were designed to address. We believe that only with a complete set of data can we advance our knowledge of the factors that explain variations in the use of structures by wildlife, as well as the recommendation of appropriate structures for different environmental and socioeconomic contexts.
Our initiative began in 2021, inspired by the experience of some members of our group in the preparation of a “datapaper” with mammal capture data using camera traps in the Atlantic Forest (Brazil). All decisions were made collaboratively within the team, with the aim that questions like those mentioned above can find appropriate answers.
The truth is that everyone can benefit from this database. This is because anyone interested in answering questions that require a large set of data can benefit. For example, different actors related to the topic of crossing structures, such as researchers, analysts from environmental institutions, consultants and entrepreneurs. And that they are interested in a wide variety of questions, whether they are methodological in nature, related to the behavior of species in each type of structure, the effectiveness of the use of different passages or even questions that we do not even anticipate at this time.
Our goal is to provide as complete a database as possible, in a way that is understandable and easy to use. Additionally, we plan to submit the datapaper to the scientific journal Ecology so that interested parties can access the database and recognize the contribution and effort of all those involved.
From the publication of the data, in a first phase, the objective is to evaluate which structures are used and by which species, to understand why some structures can be used in some places, but not in others.
In the long term and more generally, the intention is to provide guidance on what these structures should look like, considering different contexts and objectives, and to create a good practice guide for the roads sector to assist in the planning of junction structures. for wildlife on roads.