Cumulative land transportation infrastucture and functional ecological connections
LTI is a significant landscape elements that impacts, favorably or unfavorably, biodiversity. To comply with European and national regulations, it has become necessary to evaluate the impact of infrastructure on the survival and displacement of affected species. While the assessment appears to be complicated even in straightforward cases involving one single infrastructure element, it becomes unmanageable complex when dealing with multiple infrastructure elements and cumulative effects.
Ecological research has produced several theoretical and applied models that can assist in assessing LTI impact. However most of these models have never been validated or tested in use cases. It is therefore difficult to choose which methodology to use in a particular case and to assess the related level of uncertainty. This acknowledgment, stated by recent scientific publication (2013 and 2014), is shared by landscape planners and developers.
The use of two different methodologies for modeling population dynamics contiguous to a motorway could lead to two quite different results. Which of them produces the best evaluation in the context of the project? Does the precision discrepancy between the two models lead to significant bias in the impact assessment? Which method is more appropriate to detecting barrier and corridor effects? Are the costs of the different methodologies proportionate to gains or losses in precision?... These are the questions that will be addressed by the CIRFE projet by the end of 2017.
The CIRFE project will be monitoring ground beetles, yellow-bellied toads and Meadow Brown butterflies applying both the “capture, mark and recapture” method and DNA analysis, for a period of three years. Simultaneously, different modeling tools derived from laboratory research will be applied to the selected species. Finally the theoretic outcome will be evaluated in comparison with actual field data.