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1 January 2009 Predicting Hot Spots of Herpetofauna Road Mortality Along Highway Networks
Tom A. Langen, Kimberly M. Ogden, Lindsay L. Schwarting
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Road mortality is often spatially aggregated, and there is a need for models that accurately and efficiently predict hot spots within a road network for mitigation. We surveyed 145 points throughout a 353-km highway network in New York State, USA, for roadkill of reptiles and amphibians. We used land cover, wetland configuration, and traffic volume data to identify features that best predicted hot spots of herpetofauna road mortality. We resampled 40 points an additional 4 times over 4 years to evaluate temporal repeatability. Both amphibian and reptile road mortality were spatially clustered, and road-kill hot spots of the 2 taxa overlapped. One survey provided a valid snapshot of spatial patterns of road mortality, and spatial patterns remained stable across time. Road-kill hot spots were located where wetlands approached within 100 m of the road, and the best predictor was a causeway configuration of wetlands (wetlands on both sides of the road). We validated causeways as predictors of road mortality by surveying 180 causeways and 180 random points across 5 regions (17,823 km2) of northeastern New York. Causeways were 3 times more likely than random locations to have amphibian and 12 times more likely to have reptile mortality present, and causeways had a 4 times higher total number of amphibian roadkill and 9 times higher reptile roadkill than did random points. We conclude it is possible to identify valid predictors of hot spots of amphibian and reptile road mortality for use when planning roads or when conducting surveys on existing roads to locate priority areas for mitigation.

Tom A. Langen, Kimberly M. Ogden, and Lindsay L. Schwarting "Predicting Hot Spots of Herpetofauna Road Mortality Along Highway Networks," Journal of Wildlife Management 73(1), 104-114, (1 January 2009).
Published: 1 January 2009

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habitat fragmentation
landscape connectivity
New York state
road ecology
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