ERICo - Communication between nature, society and modern technology


The crisscrossing of Slovenia with roads and highways is getting more and more dense due to increasing number of vehicles, which results in great fragmentation of habitats of many (especially large) species of free-living animals. Frequently a road crosses migration pathways of many animal species; those pathways can be used as season migration pathways, migrations for the reproduction activities, migrations as a consequence of food searches, or for the looking of new suitable habitat. Majority of regional and local roads (which are not fenced) can be crossed by animals, but the potential risk for collisions does appear. Worldwide, collisions of vehicles with big game (particularly deer-vehicle collisions) provoke a high risk for road safety and represent an important economical loss; moreover, they significantly contribute to mortality of wildlife populations. Therefore, based on several years old experiences in solving problems of deer-vehicle collisions, many activities are done at ERICo, namely: (i) the expert groundwork for the implementation of the most suitable and effective measurements at specific road sections are prepared; (ii) the monitoring of the effectiveness of measurements and the cost efficiency studies are done; (iii) some recommendations on traffic infrastructure in space and preparation of project documentation are done; (iv) the education, information, and public awareness programs are prepared.


On the other hand the risk of animal-vehicle collisions is greatly reduced on highways, while they are fenced; however the fragmentations of habitats become more problematic. For the reduction of those negative impacts special passages are built during the highway construction, or some accommodations are done on banks of riverbeds, or on road crossings with highway; at the best the crossings of greater dimensions (ecoducts) are built in the regions of preservation of natural beauties. During the highway construction habitats of some animal species can be destructed in a relatively wide influential belt. Therefore, different researches are done at ERICo, such as: (i) the checking of suitability of implemented measurements for the crossing of different animal species across highways; (ii) monitoring of crossing of free-living animals via built objects; (iii) monitoring of presence of different animal species (amphibians, dragonflies, invertebrates, fishes) and their habitats, which were affected during the construction of highways or are affected due to the highway line.