Road Density and the Potential Impact on Wildlife Species such as American Moose in Mainland Nova Scotia
Beazley, Karen F.
Snaith, Tamaini V.
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Habitat conversion, degradation and fragmentation, and the introduction of exotic species are among the primary factors causing the loss of biodiversity. Road density is a valuable indicator of these anthropogenic factors. Deleterious biological effects extend more than 1000 metres from roads, and road density of 0.6 km/km2 has been identified as an apparent threshold value above which natural populations of certain large vertebrates decline. Road density assessments in Nova Scotia indicate that many areas exceed this threshold. Multivariate logistic regression analyses indicate relationships between road density, moose pellet distribution, and habitat suitability values. Road density has a statistically significant negative correlation with moose pellets, such that as road density increases, the probability of moose pellet presence decreases. Road density alone and road density in combination with habitat suitability index values predict the presence of moose pellets, whereas habitat suitability values alone do not. Thus, road density may be an indicator of moose habitat selection or effectiveness in mainland Nova Scotia. Biodiversity conservation activities in Nova Scotia and elsewhere could focus on discouraging further road densities above 0.6 km/km2; protecting remaining roadless and low road density areas; minimizing new road construction, especially in natural areas; decommissioning and regenerating old logging roads; increasing buffer zones between natural areas and roads; and providing road crossings for wildlife in the form of under and overpasses.