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Title: Road ecology in environmental impact assessment

Transport infrastructure has a wide array of effects on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and road and railway networks are increasingly being associated with a loss of biodiversity worldwide. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) are two legal frameworks that concern physical planning, with the potential to identify, predict, mitigate and/or compensate transport infrastructure effects with negative impacts on biodiversity. The aim of this study was to review the treatment of ecological impacts in environmental assessment of transport infrastructure plans and projects. A literature review on the topic of EIA, SEA, biodiversity and transport infrastructure was conducted, and 17 problem categories on the treatment of biodiversity were formulated by means of a content analysis. A review of environmental impact statements and environmental reports (EIS/ER) produced between 2005 and 2013 in Sweden and the UK was then conducted using the list of problems as a checklist. The results show that the treatment of ecological impacts has improved substantially over the years, but that some impacts remain problematic; the treatment of fragmentation, the absence of quantitative analysis and that the impact assessment study area was in general delimited without consideration for the scales of ecological processes. Actions to improve themore » treatment of ecological impacts could include improved guidelines for spatial and temporal delimitation, and the establishment of a quantitative framework including tools, methods and threshold values. Additionally, capacity building and further method development of EIA and SEA friendly spatial ecological models can aid in clarifying the costs as well as the benefits in development/biodiversity tradeoffs. - Highlights: • The treatment of ecological impacts in EIA and SEA has improved. • Quantitative methods for ecological impact assessment were rarely used • Fragmentation effects were recognized but not analysed.« less
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22447483
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Impact Assessment Review; Journal Volume: 48; Other Information: Copyright (c) 2014 Elsevier Science B.V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, All rights reserved.; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS; AUGMENTATION; ECOLOGY; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENTS; PLANNING; RAILWAYS; RECOMMENDATIONS; REVIEWS; SEAS; SPECIES DIVERSITY; SWEDEN; TRANSPORT