Roads Impact Assessment on Wildlife Habitats Using Leopold Matrix for Mitigations: A Case Study in Darmian Protected Area

Document Type : Original Research Article


Department of Environmental Science, University of Birjand, Birjand, Iran


The impact of roads as ubiquitous features of the modern landscape on wildlife habitat and biodiversity is now a serious global concern. Due to transportation infrastructure around the world, habitat loss is now considered a major threat to biodiversity conservation. The development of communication roads has exerted devastating influences on the environment, especially on wildlife habitats and sensitive ecosystems. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to assess the impacts of the Darmian road which passes through the middle of a protected area and divides it into two southeast and northwest parts. The Leopold matrix method was used to identify potential impacts on wildlife habitats. The scoring process in the Leopold matrix was performed by collecting the opinions of a panel of environmental experts and specialists based on the criteria of magnitude and significance. The results showed importance of risks are vehicle traffic (244), vehicle traffic noise (67), and salt defrosting (39), respectively. Also, the evaluation of environmental factors showed that the highest risks due to road functions include fragmentation and reduction of the habitat area (68), greater access to natural ecosystems (63), noise pollution (53), hunting and reduced habitat safety (44), and wildlife fatalities and accidents on roads (34). Thus, the environmental managers should pay more attention to the use of mitigation measures as management strategies to decrease the amount of negative impacts and further damage in the future. Finally, management strategies and solutions are suggested to reduce environmental damage according to the important impacts of road exploitation.


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