Wildlife & Traffic
A European Handbook for Identifying Conflicts and Designing Solutions
4.2 The importance of early consideration of habitat fragmentation
For new transport infrastructure developments, finding optimal alignment of roads in the landscape can minimise conflicts and the need for mitigation measures such as fauna passages. This requires involvement of ecological expertise at an early stage and throughout the process. Early involvement of local people and public awareness as well as co-operation between a wide range of organisations representing countryside interests are important actions in the planning of new routes to ensure the selection of the best possible solutions. Where mitigation is required, this should be an integral part of the planning and design process where all other aspects important in road planning are considered. Fragmentation effects thus have to be seen in the broader perspective of engineering constraints, costs, landscape, cultural heritage, recreation, agriculture and forestry as well as their impact on nature.
Evaluation of possible fragmentation or barrier effects at a very early phase of the planning process can significantly save costs. Mitigation measures are more likely to be more effective if integrated at an early stage of planning as well as being cheaper than measures built after infrastructure development. Special measures may be needed in urban situations where pressure is already high and the remaining areas of nature severely fragmented