April 2020
Vol 6, Issue 18

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Although roads are known to have serious impacts on terrestrial ecosystems, including those occupied by tigers, many previous road ecology studies have focused on localized patterns of wildlife behavior and mortality. To glean broader insights at the regional level, Carter et al.calculated the extent and potential impacts of road networks across the tiger's 13-country range that spans India, many countries in Southeast Asia, and both sides of the China-Russia border. The researchers focused on 76 tiger conservation landscapes (TCLs), which are highly important for efforts to conserve the endangered species. On average, road densities are 34% greater in portions of TCLs that lack governmental protection than in strictly protected areas, Carter et al. found. Meanwhile, 57% of TCLs and 43% of areas where tigers breed are close enough to a road to be impacted by human disturbances, such as habitat fragmentation, hunting and illegal harvesting, and noise and light pollution. The study could inform policy decisions regarding where and how to build an estimated 24,000 kilometers of new roads that, by 2050, will be added to 132,000 kilometers of roads that already exist in these ecologically sensitive regions. [CREDIT: KATRINE ALGNER/MINDEN PICTURES]