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Land use change poses as the top threat for biodiversity decline, and road sprawl as a key driver behind it globally. According to the recent Landscape Fragmentation Indicator (LFI), Greece is less fragmented than the rest of Europe but presents higher rates of fragmentation increase. We developed the Roadless Fragmentation Indicator (RFI) to monitor fragmentation in more natural ecosystems. The RFI calculates the percentage of land that is covered by roadless areas (RAs), defined as land patches over 1 km2 that are over 1 km away from the nearest road. We produced the roadless map of Greece, concluding to 1115 RAs ranked by size (1–256 km2) and to a national RFI of less than 5%. The RFI reflected naturalness, was significantly higher in the Natura 2000 network, and was more sensitive in less fragmented zones. Six mountains (0.51% of Greek land) have remained largely roadless (RAs ≥ 50 km2) and should be protected as such. We call for a straightforward roadlessness policy under a “European Roadless Rule” that would legally protect at least 2% of European land as road-free area. We also call for no further unjustified road sprawl in more natural and least fragmented ecosystems, as a measure to be integrated in all sectors of EU policy and particularly in the spatial planning of development projects. We recommend a five-step roadlessness guideline to be implemented in the European Union, including Greece, as a measure to effectively address biodiversity decline.
Biological Conservation 252 (2020) 108828
Available online 17 November 2020
0006-3207/© 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd.
Policy analysis
Conservation policy under a roadless perspective: Minimizing
fragmentation in Greece
Vassiliki Kati
, Christina Kassara
, Maria Psaralexi
, Olga Tzortzakaki
, Maria Petridou
Antonia Galani
, Monika T. Hoffmann
University of Ioannina, Department of Biological Applications & Technology, University Campus, Ioannina 45500, Greece
Pindos Perivallontiki Non-Prot Organization, Metsovou 12, Ioannina 4522, Greece
Institute of Nature Conservation, Polish Academy of Sciences, Mickiewicza 33, 31-120 Krak´
ow, Poland
Original content: V. Kati, C. Kassara, M.
Psaralexi, O. Tzortzakaki, M. Petridou, A.
Galani, et al. The roadless map of Greece
Mendeley Data, v1 (2020), p. 1,
Natura 2000
Roadless areas
Spatial planning
Land use change poses as the top threat for biodiversity decline, and road sprawl as a key driver behind it
globally. According to the recent Landscape Fragmentation Indicator (LFI), Greece is less fragmented than the
rest of Europe but presents higher rates of fragmentation increase. We developed the Roadless Fragmentation
Indicator (RFI) to monitor fragmentation in more natural ecosystems. The RFI calculates the percentage of land
that is covered by roadless areas (RAs), dened as land patches over 1 km
that are over 1 km away from the
nearest road. We produced the roadless map of Greece, concluding to 1115 RAs ranked by size (1256 km
) and
to a national RFI of less than 5%. The RFI reected naturalness, was signicantly higher in the Natura 2000
network, and was more sensitive in less fragmented zones. Six mountains (0.51% of Greek land) have remained
largely roadless (RAs 50 km
) and should be protected as such. We call for a straightforward roadlessness
policy under a European Roadless Rulethat would legally protect at least 2% of European land as road-free
area. We also call for no further unjustied road sprawl in more natural and least fragmented ecosystems, as
a measure to be integrated in all sectors of EU policy and particularly in the spatial planning of development
projects. We recommend a ve-step roadlessness guideline to be implemented in the European Union, including
Greece, as a measure to effectively address biodiversity decline.
1. Introduction
We are experiencing the most critical era of human-induced biodi-
versity loss, altering the functioning of ecosystems and imperiling their
capacity to provide goods and services to human systems (Ceballos et al.,
2015; Díaz et al., 2019; Cardinale et al., 2012). Our progress to halt
global biodiversity decline and achieve the 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets
is poor to moderate, compromising our ability to meet the relevant
Sustainable Development Goals as well (az et al., 2019). Land use
change, including habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, has been
recognized as the top threat for biodiversity loss in terrestrial ecosystems
globally, with at least 70% of the worlds land surface to be signicantly
altered (Díaz et al., 2019).
It is not by coincidence that the biodiversity crisis era happens at the
same time with the most explosive road sprawl in human history (Ibisch
et al., 2016; Laurance et al., 2014). With the length of paved roads
projected to increase at a magnitude of 1423% (Meijer et al., 2018) up
to 59% (Dulac, 2013) by the year 2050, road sprawl is a key driver
triggering or accelerating land use change and is an underlying threat to
biodiversity per se. On one hand, road infrastructure is recognized to
promote economic growth and human welfare: it encourages the pro-
liferation of new development projects, reduces transport cost, increases
gains in agricultural productivity, and delivers social benets, though
not always (Cigu et al., 2019; IPBES, 2019). On the other hand, besides
land use change, roads cause a suite of often irreversible negative effects
to ecosystem functioning (e.g. chemical pollution, hydrological disrup-
tion, soil erosion) and to species (e.g. wildlife vehicle collisions, over-
exploitation, alteration of gene ow, animal behavior change, noise
disturbance, facilitation of biological invasions) (Trombulak and Fris-
sell, 2000; Laurance et al., 2014; Ibisch et al., 2016). Such serious effects
are well-documented for the European biodiversity (Torres et al., 2016;
es et al., 2020; Konstantopoulos et al., 2020) and evidence is also
* Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (V. Kati), (C. Kassara), (M. Psaralexi), (O. Tzortzakaki), (M. Petridou), (A. Galani), (M.T. Hoffmann).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Biological Conservation
journal homepage:
Received 18 June 2020; Received in revised form 5 October 2020; Accepted 16 October 2020
... [9]. Ως εκ τούτου, οι ΑΦΠ έχουν λάβει παγκόσμιας αναγνώρισης και η ανάγκη διαφύλαξής τους τόσο ως καταφύγια βιοποικιλότητας όσο και ως ακέραια οικοσυστήματα υψηλής οικολογικής λειτουργικότητας έχει υπογραμμιστεί πολλές φορές [7,11,13,[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]. Πρόσφατα δε, σε αναφορά του Τμήματος Πολιτικής που του ανατέθηκε από την Επιτροπή Περιβάλλοντος, Δημόσιας Υγείας και Ασφάλειας των Τροφίμων (ENVI) του Ευρωπαϊκού Κοινοβουλίου, η διαφύλαξη των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους αναγνωρίστηκε ως μέτρο για τον έλεγχο διάδοσης των ασθενειών όπως οι ζωονόσοι [27]. ...
... Προφανώς κάθε τέτοια πρωτοβουλία προστασίας των ΑΦΠ θα συνεισφέρει στη μείωση της οδικής θνησιμότητας για διάφορα ευάλωτα είδη θηλαστικών, αμφιβίων, ερπετών και πτηνών [ανασκόπηση σε [33]]. Όσον αφορά στις οικοσυστημικές υπηρεσίες, η προστασία των ΑΦΠ θα συνεισφέρει στη διατήρηση του υδρολογικού κύκλου [34], πιθανόν στην ανάσχεση της επέκτασης των ξενικών ειδών [35], ενώ είναι βέβαιο πως θα συνεισφέρει στην αντιμετώπιση της κλιματικής αλλαγής λόγω του αυξημένης κάλυψης των δασικών εκτάσεων εντός αυτών [7]. Η σημασία των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους έχει αναγνωριστεί και η διατήρηση και η επέκτασή τους έχει προταθεί ως σαφές μέτρο σε δύο σχέδια δράσης: για το Βαλκανικό αγριόγιδο και για την καφέ αρκούδα [χωρίο 3.2.8]. ...
... Σημειώνεται πως οι πολύ μεγάλες ΑΦΠ (άνω των 50 τ.χλμ) της Ελλάδας αποδείχτηκαν πως χαρακτηρίζονται από μεγάλη φυσικότητα και μεγάλο ποσοστό δασικών εκτάσεων [7], και αναμένεται να έχουν μεγάλη σημασία ως αποθήκες άνθρακα. Η Ευρωπαϊκή Στρατηγική για τη Βιοποικιλότητα δεν έχει ακόμη ενσωματωθεί στην Ελληνική έννομη τάξη. ...
Technical Report
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Η επιστημονική έκθεση παρουσιάζει τον εθνικό χάρτη των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους της Ελλάδας. Πρόκειται για 389 πολύγωνα που ονομάζονται Αδιατάρακτες Φυσικές Περιοχές (ΑΦΠ), έχουν έκταση άνω των 2 τ.χλμ έκαστο και δεν διατρέχονται από δρόμους.Επιπλέον ο χάρτης περιλαμβάνει 3518 νησιά άνευ δρόμων, ή Νησιωτικές Αδιατάρακτες Φυσικές Περιοχές (ΝΑΦΠ) ανεξαρτήτως μεγέθους. Το 93% των νησιών που αξιολογήθηκαν είναι ΝΑΦΠ. Συνολικά ο εθνικός χάρτης των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους (ΑΦΠ+ΝΑΦΠ) αποτελείται από 3.907 περιοχές, η συνολική έκταση των οποίων αντιστοιχεί στο 6,18% της έκτασης της Ελλάδας. Η έκθεση δίνει μια ανασκόπηση της αξίας των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους με τη συναφή επιστημονική τεκμηρίωση σε παγκόσμιο, ευρωπαϊκό και εθνικό επίπεδο και μια σύντομη αναφορά για την άποψη της Ελληνικής κοινωνίας επί των ΑΦΠ. Παρουσιάζει τη σύνδεση της πολιτικής προστασίας των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους με τους στόχους βιώσιμης ανάπτυξης, το παγκόσμιο πλαίσιο για τη βιοποικιλότητα, την Ευρωπαϊκή στρατηγική για τη βιοποικιλότητα, το στόχο μηδενικής καθαρής δέσμευσης γης μέχρι το 2050, την Ευρωπαϊκή Σύμβαση του Τοπίου, και την Εθνική Στρατηγική για τη Βιοποικιλότητα. Παράλληλα παρουσιάζει το παρόν θεσμικό πλαίσιο των μέχρι σήμερα 6 Υπουργικών Αποφάσεων προστασίας των Περιοχών Άνευ Δρόμων και τη σημασία προστασίας των ΑΦΠ ως προς τα εθνικά σχέδια δράσης για το αγριόγιδο και την καφέ αρκούδα. Εν τέλει δίνει μια σύντομη ανασκόπηση για τη διεθνή τάση προστασίας των περιοχών χωρίς δρόμους στον κόσμο με αναφορά στη θεσμική προστασία τους στις Η.Π.Α. Το κύριο μέρος της επιστημονικής έκθεσης είναι μια σειρά από 13 προτάσεις αξιοποίησης των αποτελεσμάτων της έρευνας στη χάραξη και εφαρμογή εθνικής περιβαλλοντικής πολιτικής, από τον ορισμό περιοχών αυστηρής προστασίας εντός του δικτύου Natura, έως τη θεσμική προτασία του τοπίου και τη βιώσιμη ανάπτυξη. Η έκθεση παρήχθηκε από το Εργαστήριο Διατήρησης της Βιοποικιλότητας (BCL) του Τμήματος Βιολογικών Εφαρμογών & Τεχνολογιών του Πανεπιστημίου Ιωαννίνων, υπό τη χρηματοδότηση του Πράσινου Ταμείου. Ο ιστοχώρος της προγράμματος για περισσότερες πληροφορίες είναι Σχετικές ανακοινώσεις αναρτώνται στο
... Hence, our study demonstrates that roads paving the way for a S. elaeagnifolium invasion across the landscape [22] acts in the same fashion for PAs. Our results highlight the significance of roadless areas [46] for the protection of local biodiversity against invasive species. It is very important to take into consideration that future planned constructions of windmill parks in PAs of Greece [46] will probably include the expansion of edge habitats due to the construction of service roads providing favorable conditions for the further invasion of S. elaeagnifolium [22]. ...
... Our results highlight the significance of roadless areas [46] for the protection of local biodiversity against invasive species. It is very important to take into consideration that future planned constructions of windmill parks in PAs of Greece [46] will probably include the expansion of edge habitats due to the construction of service roads providing favorable conditions for the further invasion of S. elaeagnifolium [22]. ...
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Invasive alien plants have severe impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services worldwide. To assess the invasion of Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. (a major alien invasive plant; Solanaceae) in Greek protected areas (PAs), we conducted an extensive drive-by survey across the country crossing half of the Greek Natura 2000 sites. The occurrence data were then linked in GIS with (i) the boundaries of the Natura 2000 sites, (ii) the mapped habitat types in the invaded sites, and (iii) the Corine land cover, from which we calculated the ecosystem services. The results showed that approximately 24% of the investigated PAs were invaded by S. elaeagnifolium to varying degrees of extension and density of the populations. A variety of 29 different habitat types of Annex I of the Directive 92/43/EEC (including a priority habitat and seven habitat types of national importance) were found to be invaded (one in four habitat types present in Greece). In the invaded Natura 2000 sites, we recorded human activities/threats that were mostly related to agricultural activities of high intensity, while the potential in ecosystem service provision was relatively low for the category of regulating services in the invaded sites. Our study provides the first nationwide report of the distribution of S. elaeagnifolium in Natura 2000 sites of Greece, providing baseline maps and information for future monitoring. Our results highlight the need of an effective management strategy across the Natura 2000 network to effectively protect the local biodiversity, which should include management measures for invasive species, mitigating habitat fragmentation, and soil degradation, as well as the adaptation of eco-enhancing management strategies for the provision of multiple ecosystem services in agriculture.
... Mount Vermio is home to the sole European ground squirrel mountainous population in Greece. While the model predicts habitat availability at several additional mountains and roadless [76] plateaus (e.g., Grammos, Kaimaktsalan, Krystallopigi, Menikio, Sfika), none were within suitable habitat according to the bioclimatic and soil model. The available habitat at the Evros Delta (Thrace) is highly fragmented. ...
... Contrary to the high level of habitat fragmentation reported for lowland areas, semimountainous and mountainous areas contain large tracts of roadless [76], available habitat for the European ground squirrel. Unfortunately, most of these areas do not appear to be suitable habitats according to the bioclimatic model. ...
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The European ground squirrel (Spermophilus citellus) is an endangered semifossorial small mammal of grassland/agricultural ecosystems. In the last few decades, the species' population has declined throughout its range in Europe. The Greek populations represent the southernmost limit of the species' range and are notably small, scattered, and located mainly in human-modified areas. The goal of the present research is to understand the environmental and anthropogenic variables associated with its distribution in the Mediterranean habitats, assess possible drivers of observed local extinctions, and propose conservation and land-use management actions in light of near-future climate change scenarios. We used presence records since 2000 across all known populations (107 colonies) and maximum entropy conditional probability models (MaxEnt) to calculate both the habitat suitability (bioclimatic variables) and habitat availability (anthropogenic/land-use variables) within the European ground squirrel's historical range in northern Greece. We report a projected 39% to 94.3% decrease in habitat suitability by 2040-2060 due to climate change. Based on our findings , we provide guidance by proposing nascent conservation actions to protect the few existing colonies in Greece via improved land management practices and identify in situ climate refugia that could be prioritized as sites for future reintroductions.
... The implementation of the provisions of the EU 2030 Biodiversity strategy in the study area would be an efficient tool to reduce human disturbance and could increase ungulate populations, enhance wild prey resources for wolves and, hence, reduce livestock depredation. Furthermore, limiting the construction of new roads and access to existing roads in ecologically sensitive areas [83], including the breeding sites of wolves [84], would reduce overall human disturbance and benefit wildlife in the broader study area. Research approaches, such as the utilization of camera trap surveys, to understand and monitor human-wildlife interactions, can improve and guide future conservation efforts and management interventions in a world with increasing human activity and infrastructure. ...
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In an era of increasing human pressure on nature, understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of wildlife relative to human disturbance can inform conservation efforts, especially for large carnivores. We examined the temporal activity and spatial patterns of wolves and eight sympatric mammals at 71 camera trap stations in Greece. Grey wolves temporally overlapped the most with wild boars (∆ = 0.84) and medium-sized mammals (∆ > 0.75), moderately with brown bears (∆ = 0.70), and least with roe deer (∆ = 0.46). All wild mammals were mainly nocturnal and exhibited low temporal overlap with human disturbance (humans, vehicles, livestock, and dogs; ∆ = 0.18-0.36), apart from roe deer, which were more diurnal (∆ = 0.80). Six out of nine species increased their nocturnality at sites of high human disturbance, particularly roe deer and wolves. The detection of wolves was negatively associated with paved roads, the detection of roe deer was negatively associated with human disturbance, and the detection of wild boars was negatively associated with dogs. The detection of bears, boars, and foxes increased closer to settlements. Our study has applied implications for wolf conservation and human-wildlife coexistence.
... Simultaneously, traffic brings significant impacts, which are usually negative, on native species and ecosystems; Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 02 such impacts include natural landscape change (Fahrig and Rytwinski, 2009;Kati et al., 2020), biological invasion (Iacarella et al., 2020), habitat fragmentation (Ware et al., 2015), biodiversity loss (Secco et al., 2022). Following a huge anthropogenic road-building program, road ecology is now increasingly being studied globally (Ibisch et al., 2016). ...
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During the last two decades, numerous studies have shown the effects of traffic noise on animal vocal communication. However, studies on the influences of traffic noise on wildlife behavior and physiology are scarce. In the present study, we experimentally manipulated the traffic noise exposure of plateau pika, a native small mammal widely distributed in the alpine meadow of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, to explore the effects of traffic noise exposure on its behavior and physiology. We showed that noise exposure increased the pika’s exploration and cortisol concentration (CORT) but decreased the resting metabolic rate (RMR). In addition, the relationships between RMR and exploration or CORT appeared under traffic noise treatment. This study suggests that traffic noise plays a large role in the behavior and physiology of plateau pikas and may have a long-term negative effect on the fitness of rodent populations. Generalizing these non-lethal effects to different taxa is crucial for the conservation and management of biodiversity in this increasingly noisy world.
... Other landscape metrics have been developed for use in urban and transport planning: Infrastructural Fragmentation Index (IFI) (De Montis et al., 2018); Area Weighted Metric (Kati et al., 2020); Spatial Road Disturbance Index (SPROADI) (Nematollahi et al., 2017); Probability of Connectivity Index (PC) (Furberg et al., 2020); Incidence Function Model (IFM) (Graham et al., 2018); and Least Cost Paths (LCP) (Balbi et al., 2019). Several of these, especially the Connectance Index (CONNECT) and Number of Links (NL), however, are unreliable as measures of landscape connectivity (Spanowicz and Jaeger, 2019;Freeman-Cole and Jaeger, 2020). ...
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Roads can have significant negative impacts on wildlife. Fauna-sensitive road design (FSRD) can alleviate adverse impacts on several species by installing specialised structures, such as wildlife crossing structures. This developing subfield has generally, however, had a limited impact on transportation planning and management. Indeed, most research is focused narrowly on technological solutions, instead of broader policy learnings. This systematic quantitative literature review (SQLR) of international literature sought to identify the biodiversity concerns acknowledged in transport planning policy, as well as the barriers to the adoption of environmental policies within transport planning. Despite considerable literature available on the impacts of roads on wildlife elsewhere, acknowledgement and consideration of both fauna movement and fauna-sensitive road design were limited in road transportation planning research. More broadly, failure to achieve environmental objectives within transport planning occurred primarily as a result of competing sector interests (conflicted knowledge), different political objectives (political interest), and incorrect interpretation of policies. In essence, the results add new layers of understanding to the field of transportation planning and policy, in particular, the gaps in acknowledgement of wildlife movements and the limitations of current fauna-sensitive road design considered. Importantly, the review identified multiple ecological support tools available to transport policy- and decision-makers. Integration of these in road transportation projects could facilitate enhanced uptake and adoption of FSRD measures and thus foster improved sustainability of the transport network.
... The total length of roads already exceeds 64 million km (van der Ree et al. 2015) and by 2050, at least 25 million km of additional roads are expected to be built (Laurance et al. 2014). Transportation infrastructure promotes economic growth and human welfare (Kati et al. 2020), thus the majority of new roads (ca. 90%) will be constructed in developing nations (Alamgir et al. 2017). ...
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Road networks provide several benefits to human societies; however, they are also one of the major drivers of fragmentation and habitat degradation. Their negative effects include wildlife-vehicle collisions which are associated with increased barrier effects, restricted gene flow, and increased local extinction risk. Large carnivores, such as the brown bear (Ursus arctos), are vulnerable to road mortality while they also put human safety at risk in every collision. We recorded approximately 100 bear-vehicle collisions during the last 15 years (2005-2020) in northwestern Greece and identified common aspects for collisions, i.e., spatial, or temporal segregation of collision events, road features, and age or sex of the involved animals. We recorded collisions in both the core distribution area of brown bears, as well as at the periphery, where few individuals, mostly males, disperse. According to our findings, there are four collision hotspots which include ca. 60% of total collisions. Bear-vehicle collisions occurred mostly in periods of increased animal mobility, under poor light conditions and low visibility. In most cases, we deem that a collision was unavoidable at the time of animal detection, because the driver could not have reacted in time to avoid it. Appropriate fencing, in combination with the retention of safe passages for the animals, can minimize collisions. Therefore, such mitigation measures, wildlife warning signs and other collision prevention systems, such as animal detection systems, should be adopted to decrease the number of bear-vehicle collisions and improve road safety.
... Scientists in Europe, for example, have recommended that roadless areas be integrated into biodiversity conservation networks as a way to minimize conflicts while expanding protected areas to achieve the goals of the European Union's 2020 Biodiversity Strategy (Psaralexi et al., 2017). And in an interesting coincidence, there have been calls for a "European Roadless Rule" that would legally protect at least 2% of European land as road-free area (Kati et al., 2020). ...
Full-text available
Inventoried roadless areas (IRAs) in national forests in the contiguous United States (CONUS) are public lands that are ecologically intact and could be prime candidates for addition to the protected-area system, thereby contributing to the goal of protecting 30% of the Earth by 2030. Despite calls both to protect roadless areas and to downgrade them, we know surprisingly little about the importance of IRAs as habitat for vulnerable wildlife species. We assessed the importance of IRAs—in total and individually—as habitat for wildlife species of conservation concern (SCCs) and, for context, compared their habitat value to that of other national forest lands and CONUS lands in general. We also quantified how well the protected-area system would provide habitat for wildlife SCCs if all unprotected IRAs were added to it. Of the 537 wildlife SCCs in CONUS, 308 species (57%) have at least some suitable habitat in one or more IRAs. The median IRA contains suitable habitat for 10 wildlife SCCs, with a maximum of 62 wildlife SCCs. Despite their geographic and elevational clustering and predominance of a single biome type, IRAs provide a larger proportion of suitable habitat for multiple wildlife SCCs than non-IRA CONUS lands. The median number of wildlife SCCs’ suitable habitat per 900-m² pixel is also slightly higher in IRAs than in most national forest wilderness areas, national monuments, and other currently protected areas. If all IRAs were added to the protected-area system in CONUS, there would be a substantial decrease (-38) in the number of wildlife SCCs that are currently considered “poorly represented” in protected areas. In this study we provide quantitative information about the importance of IRAs as habitat for vulnerable wildlife species so that stakeholders, agency staff, and lawmakers can make informed choices about where to invest limited resources for conservation.
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The exponential growth of the human population and their activity in the last decades have adverse effects on biodiversity. The main objective of this review was to present a compilation of works on causes of mortality of native wildlife in Europe, in the last decades linked to human activity. Here, a total of 130 peer-reviewed publications were reviewed for the period between 1942 to 2017 from thirty-eight countries. Sixty-five percent of the studies were focused on the bird's species. Our results showed that the leading cause of mortality was due to traumatic origin, particularly collision with infrastructures and motor vehicles. Based on the papers analysed in the present study, it is possible to conclude that human development and its anthropogenic pressures have a negative effect on some species of wildlife, while the potential impact on the vast majority of other species is still unknown. This study provided an insight into the effects of the different anthropogenic pressures on the European fauna, giving valuable information on its main threats and raising important questions on rehabilitation management practices.
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Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is a protected species with an Inadequate-Bad (U2) conservation status in Greece. Our study explores its seasonal range use pattern, demography and habitat selection in a site of the Natura 2000 network, Timfi Mountain. To this aim, we examined 1168 observations obtained from six seasonal surveys (2002: four seasons, 2014 and 2017: autumn) and performed an ecological-niche factor analysis (ENFA), using 16 environmental and human-disturbance variables. The species had an annual range of 6491 ha (25% of the study area), followed the typical range-use pattern, and presented the minimum core area during the rutting season (autumn). Timfi Mt hosted 469 individuals in 2017 (the largest population in Greece), increasing by 3.55 times since 2002. The species selected higher altitudes during summer and autumn, pinewoods over broad-leaved woods as winter grounds, and it avoided south-facing slopes. Our results supported the anthropogenic risk avoidance hypothesis; the species always selected remote areas away from roads, human settlements, and hunting grounds. In Greece, 40% of its distribution area falls within hunting ban areas (16.5% of the country). A national conservation policy is needed towards maintaining and increasing roadless areas and hunting-ban areas within Balkan chamois range nationwide.
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The rapid increase of transportation infrastructure during the recent decades has caused a number of effects on bird species, including collision mortality, habitat loss, fragmentation and noise. This paper investigates the effects of traffic noise and road-induced fragmentation on breeding bird richness in Cyprus. Cyprus, situated along one of the main migratory routes for birds, has a rich and diverse avifauna threatened by an ever-expanding road network and a road density among the highest in Europe. In this first island-wide study we used data from 102 breeding birds recorded in 10 km × 10 km grid cells. Within every cell we calculated road traffic noise and eight road-related properties. Most of the grid cells are subject to intense fragmentation and traffic noise with combined impact ‘hotspots’ located even within protected areas (such as Cape Greco, and the Troodos Massif). Results from variance partitioning indicated that road-related properties (total road extent and road length) accounted for a combined 59% of variation in species richness, followed by fragmentation-related properties and noise properties. The study posits the need for further in-depth research on the effects of road networks on birds, and road construction, particularly in protected areas within Mediterranean islands. • Key policy insights • Road areal extent is as important as road density when evaluating the effects of roads on biodiversity • In addition to roadless areas, conservation efforts should focus on areas with low combined impact of noise and fragmentation • Mitigation measures are required within protected areas where high noise and fragmentation are documented
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Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is fundamental for halting anthropogenic climate change. However, renewable energy facilities can be land‐use intensive and impact conservation areas, and little attention has been given to whether the aggregated effect of energy transitions poses a substantial threat to global biodiversity. Here, we assess the extent of current and likely future renewable energy infrastructure associated with onshore wind, hydropower and solar photovoltaic generation, within three important conservation areas: protected areas, Key Biodiversity Areas and Earth’s remaining wilderness. We identified 2,206 fully operational renewable energy facilities within the boundaries of these conservation areas, with another 922 facilities under development. Combined, these facilities span and are degrading 886 protected areas, 749 Key Biodiversity Areas, and 40 distinct wilderness areas. Two trends are particularly concerning. First, while the majority of historical overlap occurs in Western Europe, the renewable electricity facilities under development increasingly overlap with conservation areas in South East Asia, a globally important region for biodiversity. Second, this next wave of renewable energy infrastructure represents a ~30% increase in the number of protected areas and Key Biodiversity Areas impacted and could increase the number of compromised wilderness areas by ~60%. If the world continues to rapidly transition towards renewable energy these areas will face increasing pressure to allow infrastructure expansion. Coordinated planning of renewable energy expansion and biodiversity conservation is essential to avoid conflicts that compromise their respective objectives.
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The time is now For decades, scientists have been raising calls for societal changes that will reduce our impacts on nature. Though much conservation has occurred, our natural environment continues to decline under the weight of our consumption. Humanity depends directly on the output of nature; thus, this decline will affect us, just as it does the other species with which we share this world. Díaz et al. review the findings of the largest assessment of the state of nature conducted as of yet. They report that the state of nature, and the state of the equitable distribution of nature's support, is in serious decline. Only immediate transformation of global business-as-usual economies and operations will sustain nature as we know it, and us, into the future. Science , this issue p. eaax3100
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This study assessed the effect of road development on vegetation fragmentation in and around a protected area network in western Isfahan Province, central Iran. As the first study in Iran, an attempt was also made using the Weighted Linear Combination-informed EVIRA index, to evaluate the environmental value of roadless areas based on a set of ecological and anthropogenic factors. Toward these aims, a Landsat 8-OLI image was processed to delineate land use/cover of the region. Road induced fragmentation was then estimated by comparing the results of a small set of landscape metrics (DIVISION, SPLIT, MESH, LPI, and NP) measured from the original and road-included LULC map. The results showed road-induced increasing DIVISION (by 4.8%- 85.9%) and SPLIT (by 0.01%- 23.1%) and decreasing MESH (by 2.7%- 14%), LPI (by 1.3%- 32.4%), and NP (by 6%- 97.8%) values within all protected areas and across the entire study area, indicating a significant rise in landscape fragmentation and habitat loss. Roadless patch area and Thiessen connectivity stood out as the most salient criteria in determining environmentally valuable roadless areas. The results of EVIRA showed that the study region comprises some valuable but unprotected roadless areas which should be protected against road development or any kind of destructive human activities by laying out conservation plans or their inclusion to the current protected area network.
Conference Paper
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Assessment of Widlife - Vehicle collisions impact in north-eastern Greece
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This paper examines the link between the transport infrastructure and the economic performance in the EU-28 countries, over the period of time 2000–2014, using panel data methods. Firstly, we aim to provide the theoretical background of the transport infrastructure development, public sector performance and economic growth. The paper's key point is the detailed look at the components of transport infrastructure, analyzing the implications of the policy-makers based on a production function and in order to test the policy implication, factor analysis is also employed. The results show significant effects from transport infrastructure components even after institutional and other factors are controlled for. From the path analysis results, the study confirm the alternative hypothesis, outlining the unidirectional long-run causality relationship between growth, transport infrastructure and Public Sector Performance. Transport infrastructure status (measured thought index of transport) has significant impact on economic development with coefficient estimate. The public performance indicators influence the way to economic growth. On the one hand, the corruption, the regulatory environment, size shadow economy, infant mortality, income inequality, inflation and unemployment rate negatively affect the economic growth, and on the other hand there is a strong positive relationship between the quality of the judiciary, education achievement, life expectancy and economic growth.
Land ownership determines fundamental interests, prescribing a framework of alliances and oppositions around its development and use. The public sector constitutes one of the main categories of large landowners, although this type of ownership takes more than one form, due to the wide variety of public sector bodies holding property. Public land management became one of the focuses of austerity policies in many European countries after the burst of economic crisis in 2008–2009, externally imposed in those countries that went through bailout programmes. In Greece, the history of land policy shows that a fundamental objective of state policy was the distribution and liquidation of public land, a policy that contributed to the formation of an extensive system of small land ownership. From 2010 onwards, a plethora of formal legislation sought to accelerate development procedures for the remaining large-scale public property, as a background resource to attract large-scale, so-called “strategic”, investments. This paper explores the critical characteristics and outcomes of the reforms to transform public land policy, identifying the interactions with urban planning, before and during the economic crisis. Taking a longer temporal view, the paper highlights the entrenched relationships existing between public land policy, urban planning and property development processes and their significance in the diachronic continuities often concealed in major policy reversals and reforms. It argues that ultimately there is a lack of a coherent and sustainable public property valorisation policy, being deprived of any institutional innovation for new forms of urban development, as well as of social acceptance.