Our new systematic map – roadside management and the diversity and dispersal of species

NEWS | 2017-10-10

EviEM has conducted systematic mapping of the available evidence on how different kinds of roadside management affect biodiversity and species dispersal. Now, the final report as well as a database of the included studies have been published.

Photo: Tore Hagman/N.

In 2015, following a suggestion by the Swedish Board of Agriculture, EviEM initiated a review of how the diversity and dispersal of species are affected by various kinds of roadside management. The review team has been chaired by Regina Lindborg, Professor of physical geography at Stockholm University, and the review project has been managed by Claes Bernes, EviEM.

As a first step towards a more complete synthesis, the review team have compiled a systematic map. Such a map gives an overview of the evidence base by providing a database with descriptions of relevant studies, but it does not synthesise reported results.

The systematic map provides a key to finding concrete guidance for conservation- and restoration-oriented roadside management from published research. As such it should be of value to a range of actors, including managers and policymakers. However, the map also highlights important knowledge gaps: little data was found for some geographical regions, research is heavily biased towards effects on plants, and we found no study on how species dispersal was affected by roadside management. The map could therefore be a source of inspiration for new research.

Data on all of the 301 included studies are available in an Excel file, and also in an interactive Geographical Information System (GIS) application. The GIS application shows the locations of the studies on a map of the world, it displays all information that have been recorded on the studies, and it allows the user to select studies of any special kind that may be of interest.

Links to our report on the systematic map can be found in the margin at right.

The review team now continues with a full systematic review of a subtopic of high importance to environmental conservation, namely how vascular plants and invertebrates along roadsides are affected by mowing, grazing, burning and selective mechanical removal of plants (see link below).

First meeting of the review team, October 2015. From left: Claes Bernes, James Bullock, Maj Rundlöf, Simon Jakobsson, Regina Lindborg and Kris Verheyen. Photo: Anna Waldenström.