Nov. 6, 2013 — A first-of-its-kind study by Boise State University researchers shows that the negative effects of roads on wildlife are largely because of traffic noise.
Biologists have known that bird populations decline near roads. But pinpointing noise as a cause has been a problem because past studies of the effects of road noise on wildlife were conducted in the presence of the other confounding effects of roads. These include visual disturbances, collisions and chemical pollution, among others.
"We present the first study to experimentally apply traffic noise to a roadless area at a landscape scale, thus avoiding the other confounding aspects of roads present in past studies," said Christopher J. W. McClure, post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Biological Sciences.
"Understanding the effects of road noise can help wildlife managers in the selection, conservation and management of habitat for birds," said Jesse R. Barber, assistant professor of biological sciences and one of McClure's fellow researchers.