In February, Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament participated in a five day Road Ecology workshop in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, entitled “Capacity Building in Designing Mitigation Measures along Linear Infrastructure in Tiger Landscapes.” Rob gave seven presentations at the event, where attendees from India, Nepal, and the U.S. gathered for three days of talks and two days of field trips to central India highway, railway and canal mitigation locations. The week was hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Trust and co-sponsored by Global Tiger Forum and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of International Programs. Rob also had the opportunity to view other protected species, including rhinos and elephants.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by the Rocky Mountain Outlook last week about a new wildlife overpass near Canmore, Alberta and Banff National Park. In “Plans for new TCH overpass in the works,” Clevenger discusses the role of wildlife overpasses in reconnecting grizzly bear populations, which is critical for the long-term viability of the species. The article also highlights Clevenger’s work with colleague Adam Ford to study the wildlife crossing structures in Banff for 17 years, research which revealed grizzly bear travel patterns and the types of crossing structures which are most effective. The full article is available on the Rocky Mountain Outlook website.
Earlier this month, WTI Road Ecology Program Manager, Rob Ament, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya for the first African meeting of the Transport Working Group (TWG). Formed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCSG), the TWG provides guidance on strategies that avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate for the impacts of surface transportation systems on wildlife connectivity. The TWG is mobilizing road ecologists and transport professional around the world to develop connectivity-minded infrastructure development guidelines for governments and development banks to adopt.
The meeting took place at the campus of the Africa Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. Members represented consultants, NGOs, government agencies, researchers and academia. The agenda and discussions covered the TWG’s scoping document, work plan, and communications support of TWG, as well as the development of guidance documents and transport mitigation resources. Rob Ament, who serves as co-chair of the group, will help develop a briefing paper for the TWG regarding the Multilateral Development Bank Team and how to engage them in transport projects in Africa as well as on other continents. Rob also gave a presentation about the TWG in Arusha, Tanzania, at another meeting hosted by the CCSG in east Africa.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by WHYY radio in Canada regarding his 17-year research project to evaluate the wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park. The discussion highlighted the research techniques used to determine which animals were using the crossing structures; these techniques included animal tracks, hair traps, and remote wildlife cameras. The entire audio interview is available on the WHYY website. The online article also features photos of a fox, wolf, elk, linx and bear using the wildlife crossings, and a video clip of a bear and two cubs on one of the structures.
A peer-reviewed study of wildlife crossing structures used by grizzly bears has revealed usage patterns that may help re-connect populations and support conservation efforts. The Wildlife Society Bulletin has published “Road Mitigation is a Demographic Filter for Grizzly Bears,” by Adam Ford, Mirjam Barrueto, and WTI’s Tony Clevenger, based on research that investigated five crossing structure designs installed at 44 sites along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Using both tracking data and camera images, the research team compared usage of the five types of structures between single bears and family groups of bears. While single bears used both tunnels and overpasses, grizzly females traveling with cubs showed a strong preference for overpasses. The study was featured last week on the University of British Columbia website and highlighted today on Science Daily. The full journal article is available in the online edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
The Mexican Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (National Transportation Department) sponsored its first national Road Ecology workshop in Hermosillo, Senora, Mexico in early October. WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was one of three presenters invited to lead this inaugural forum. Organizers, including the Secretaria, the Wildlands Network, and other partner agencies, anticipated only 50 attendees, but the event attracted more than 100 participants.
Ecology and Evolution has published an article on threats to wolverine populations, which was co-authored by WTI researcher Tony Clevenger. “Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine” describes research in the Canadian Rockies that used camera trapping, genetic tagging, and modeling to investigate whether the interaction of climate change and landscape change may result in declining populations of wolverines.
Citation: Heim N, Fisher JT, Clevenger A, Paczkowski J, Volpe J. Cumulative effects of climate and landscape change drive spatial distribution of Rocky Mountain wolverine (Gulo gulo L.). Ecology and Evolution. 2017;00:1–12.
The Center for Health and Safety Culture’s research scientistKari Finleyhas been selected to present at the Thirteenth International Conference on Interdisciplinary Social Sciences in Granada, Spain in July 2018. Her presentation, “Understanding the Culture of Traffic Safety Citizenship” will highlight exciting new research from the center. Attendees will learn about traffic safety citizenship, cultural factors predictive of prosocial traffic safety behaviors, and ways to grow citizenship behaviors.
WTI Road Ecologist Marcel Huijsercontinues to partner with colleagues in Brazil on both research and academic projects. In August, he taught a weeklong course at the University of Sao Paulo (USP) on “Road Ecology and the Conservation of Biodiversity.” His students are studying Wildlife Ecology, Management and Conservation in the Forest Science Department at USP. Over the years, Marcel’s work in Brazil has included teaching, mentoring, international exchanges with Brazilian researchers, presentations to government agencies, and consulting on road development projects.
Marcel Huijser (fifth from left) and students in the Road Ecology course
The West Region Transportation Workforce Center at WTI and Moscow State University for Transport Engineering (MIIT) in Russia have completed a unique, year-long collaboration designed to make transportation in rural communities more accessible to people with disabilities. In both countries, rural transit agencies struggle to meet accessibility requirements because of limited funding and large service areas. After recognizing their mutual goals, the two institutions realized that both would benefit from sharing research findings and other resources. The project was jointly sponsored by the Eurasia Foundation’s University Partnership Program and by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center.
After WTI researchers collected information about different accessibility training programs, they shared the information with MIIT, as well as with transit providers in the U.S., both on the West Region Transportation Workforce Center website and through a series of webinars. The researchers also compared accessibility education programs and data from surveys of transit providers in their respective countries to identify barriers and successes to providing accessible transportation services. For more information, check out the feature article published by the Montana State University News Service.