THE ROAD AHEAD: ROAD ECOLOGY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Claire Patterson-Abrolat
Endangered Wildlife Trust, Wildlife and Transport Programme

 

Abstract
Despite evidence suggesting that road traffic is a major threat to biodiversity loss, very little is known about its impact on wildlife populations in South Africa. Globally, road density and traffic volumes are increasing, and although huge budgets are devoted to the construction and upgrading of roads, there is little or no allocation to mitigation measures for protecting fauna in most countries, particularly in Africa. South Africa is the one of the most biologically diverse country on Earth and hosts a multitude of indigenous and endemic species and habitats. Government has placed a strong emphasis on the economic development of South Africa but these opportunities require an effective transport system. As such, the Department of Transport plans to “spur a major revolution” through investments in public transport, including road infrastructure, rail upgrades, freight services and intelligent transport systems, which will almost certainly impact wildlife. To date, South African research has focused primarily on roadkill rates, with results highlighting the need not only for a greater understanding of the primary determinants of roadkill and its threat to biodiversity, but also the indirect effects of the country’s roads on wildlife. The identification, adoption and implementation of mitigation measures is also urgently needed. This is best facilitated through effective communication and prior proper planning processes. We plan to continue to build capacity and find solutions to South Africa’s roadkill issues. While South Africa is fundamentally different to Europe and North America, application of the information and lessons learned in developed countries should be explored within the African framework. Therefore, the development of “African” solutions may be required to solve uniquely African issues.

 

Presentation Topic
THE ROAD AHEAD: ROAD ECOLOGY IN SOUTH AFRICA
Contact Ms Patterson-Abrolat:
Email Claire Patterson-Abrolat