U.S. Department of Agriculture: Forest Service -- National Agroforestry Center


Date of this Version



Published in THE PRAIRIE NATURALIST 36(3): September 2004 Published by the North Dakota Natural Science Society.


Fourteen authors, ranging from transportation specialists to ecologists, have collaborated to write this very useful compendium describing the newly minted discipline of "road ecology." The authors state that road ecology "uses the science of ecology and landscape ecology to explore, understand, and address the interactions of roads and vehicles with their surrounding environment." The book is not aimed at ecologists; rather, the book's intended primary audience is people associated with transportation, including engineers, planners, environmental specialists, economists, and social scientists. This perspective is one of the most beneficial aspects of the book. Although a large body of road-related literature is found in ecological journals, that literature may not be widely read by the engineers and planners who actually design and construct the nation's vast network of roads. The multidisciplinary focus of the book is revealed by its sponsors: the Federal Highway Administration, California Department of Transportation, and The Nature Conservancy. Although the book primarily features North American studies (United States and Canada), examples of road effects worldwide are included. The book is extensively referenced and well-written; technical jargon is largely absent. Illustrations include photographs and clearly drawn graphs and schematics, many adapted from previously published literature.