Road network forms specific stations for living organisms in the conditions of the steppe zone

Keywords: roadside, forest belt, biodiversity, soil, pollutants

Abstract

The state of art analysis of available published data allowed to determine the features of the roadside ecosystems formation and the possibility of further development of biodiversity conservation measures. In Ukraine and around the world, road infrastructure is an important economic and social object that has a negative impact on the environment. This takes place due to environmental pollution, fragmentation of habitats, biodiversity loss, etc. At the same time, on the roadsides the stations (microhabitats) are being formed. They can be a barrier to motor vehicle pollution and provide available shelters for living organisms. Road operation usually affects the structure of roadside vegetation. There is an increase in the number of of annual plant species and a decrease in perennials. Favourable conditions are also created for the spread of heliophytes and xerophytes. Roads are a source of chemical pollution that affects all components of roadside ecosystems. The amount of pollutants is mainly dependent on the traffic intensity and road width. The creation of roadside forest plantations significantly reduces the negative impact of vehicles. Wood plantations contribute to better carbon deposition, which is an integral part of many vehicle pollutants, and create a barrier for pollutants coming far from roads. Forest belt can also be a refuge for many species of animals and combine fragmented habitats around. Because plants and small animals at roadside stations are bound to their localities, they are able to accumulate much amount of ecotoxicants, especially heavy metals, which should be taken into account when conducting local business. For the living of animals in roadside stations, the characteristics of specific confined plant community, microclimate and landform are quite important. Due to the linearity and long distances, roadsides provide migration ways for many species. The developed roadside habitats may be the refugia for not only common, but for rare animals. We should conclude that further research of the environmental benefits of roadside ecosystems in the Steppe zone of Ukraine would allow developing effective measures for roadside management in the frames of nature conservation.

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Published
2020-10-25
How to Cite
Yermolenko, S., Huslystyi, A., Hahut, A., Gasso, V., & Ivanko, I. (2020). Road network forms specific stations for living organisms in the conditions of the steppe zone. Ecology and Noospherology, 31(2), 99-104. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.15421/032016