Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30169
Effects of Road Disturbance on Plant Biodiversity

Authors: Sheng-Lan Zeng, Ting-Ting Zhang, Yu Gao, Zu-Tao Ouyang, Jia-Kuan Chen, Bo Li, Bin Zhao


Urbanization and related anthropogenic modifications cause extent of habitat fragmentation and directly lead to decline of local biodiversity. Conservation biologists advocate corridor creation as one approach to rescue biodiversity. Here we examine the utility of roads as corridors in preserving plant diversity by investigating roadside vegetation in Yellow River Delta (YRD), China. We examined the spatio-temporal distribution pattern of plant species richness, diversity and composition along roadside. The results suggest that roads, as dispersal conduits, increase occurrence probability of new settlers to a new area, meanwhile, roads accumulate the greater propagule pressure and favourable survival condition during operation phase. As a result, more species, including native and alien plants, non- halophyte and halophyte species, threatened and cosmopolitic species, were found prosperous at roadside. Roadside may be a refuge for more species, and the pattern of vegetation distribution is affected by road age and the distance from road verge.

Keywords: Native and alien species, Plant diversity conservation, Road construction, Road disturbance

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 2878


[1] Z.G. Davies and A.S. Pullin, ''Are hedgerows effective corridors between fragments of woodland habitat? An evidence-based approach''. Landscape Ecology. vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 333-351,2007.
[2] S.L. Flory and K. Clay, ''Effects of roads and forest successional age on experimental plant invasions''. Biological Conservation. vol. 142, no., pp. 2531-2537,2009.
[3] B.C. Klein, ''Effects of Forest Fragmentation on Dung and Carrion Beetle Communities in Central Amazonia''. Ecology. vol. 70, no. 6, pp. 1715-1725,1989.
[4] M. Baguette, S. Petit, and F. Que'va, ''Population Spatial Structure and Migration of Three Butterfly Species within the Same Habitat Network: Consequences for Conservation''. Journal of Applied Ecology. vol. 37, no., pp. 100-108,2000.
[5] I.A. Hanski, ''Island Biogeography : Ecology, Evolution and Conservation''. Nature. vol. 398, no., pp. 387-388,1999.
[6] D. Simberloff, ''The contribution of populations and community biology to conservation science''. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. vol. 5, no., pp. 473-511,1988.
[7] P.F. Brussard, D.D. Murphy, and R.F. Noss, ''Editorial: Strategy and Tactics for Conserving Biological Diversity in the United States''. Conservation Biology. vol. 6, no., pp. 157-159,1992.
[8] E.I. Damschen, N.M. Haddad, J.L. Orrock, J.J. Tewksbury, and D.J. Levey, ''Corridors increase plant species richness at large scales''. Science. vol. 313, no. 5791, pp. 1284-1286,2006.
[9] S.S. Cilliers and G.J. Bredenkamp, ''Vegetation of road verges on an urbanisation gradient in Potchefstroom, South Africa''. Landscape and Urban Planning. vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 217-239,2000.
[10] D.A. Saunders and R.J. Hobbs, The role of corridors Chipping Norton, NSW, Australia: Surrey Beatty 1991.
[11] P.G. Spooner, I.D. Lunt, and S.V. Briggs, ''Spatial analysis of anthropogenic disturbance regimes and roadside shrubs in a fragmented agricultural landscape''. Applied Vegetation Science. vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 61-70,2004.
[12] R.T.T. Forman and L.E. Alexander, ''Roads and their major ecological effects''. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. vol. 29, no., pp. 207-231,1998.
[13] J.L. Gelbard and J. Belnap, ''Roads as conduits for exotic plant invasions in a semiarid landscape''. Conservation Biology. vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 420-432,2003.
[14] S.J. Milton and W.R.J. Dean, ''Alien plant assemblages near roads in arid and semi-arid South Africa''. Diversity and Distributions. vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 175-187,1998.
[15] P.M. Tikka, H. Hogmander, and P.S. Koski, ''Road and railway verges serve as dispersal corridors for grassland plants''. Landscape Ecology. vol. 16, no. 7, pp. 659-666,2001.
[16] E.K. Cameron and E.M. Bayne, ''Road age and its importance in earthworm invasion of northern boreal forests''. Journal of Applied Ecology. vol. 46, no. 1, pp. 28-36,2009.
[17] P.G. Spooner and L. Smallbone, ''Effects of road age on the structure of roadside vegetation in south-eastern Australia''. Agriculture Ecosystems & Environment. vol. 129, no. 1-3, pp. 57-64,2009.
[18] D.J. Hodkinson and K. Thompson, ''Plant dispersal: the role of man''. Journal of Applied Ecology. vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 1484-1496,1997.
[19] A.E. Lugo and H. Gucinski, ''Function, effects, and management of forest roads''. Forest Ecology and Management. vol. 133, no. 3, pp. 249-262,2000.
[20] S.L. Flory and K. Clay, ''Invasive shrub distribution varies with distance to roads and stand age in eastern deciduous forests in Indiana, USA''. Plant Ecology. vol. 184, no. 1, pp. 131-141,2006.
[21] J. Zhang, S. Xing, Q. Sun, J. Chi, and Y. Song, ''Study on flora resources and its features in Yellow River Delta Region''. Research of soil and water conservation. vol. 13, no., pp. 100-102,2006.
[22] Compiling committee of records of roads in Dongying, Records of roads in Dongying. Beijing: Chinese Literature and History Press 2003.
[23] R. Wang and G. Zhou, Shandong vegetation. Jinan: Shandong Science and Technology Publishing House 2000, pp. 373.
[24] R.F. Noss and A.Y. Cooperrider, ''Saving nature's legacy: protecting and restoring biodiversity'', in Saving nature's legacy: protecting and restoring biodiversity, R.F. Noss and A.Y. Cooperrider, Editors. Washington, D.C.: Island Press: 1994. pp. xxvii+416p.
[25] A.F. Bennett, ''Roads, roadsides, and wildlife conservation: a review'', in Nature conservation conservation 2: the role of corridors, D.A. Saunders and R.J. Hobbs, Editors. New South Wales, Australia: Surrey Beatty and Sons: 1989. pp. 99-118.
[26] N.A. Auerbach, M.D. Walker, and D.A. Walker, ''Effects of roadside disturbance on substrate and vegetation properties in arctic tundra''. Ecological Applications. vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 218-235,1997.
[27] S.C. Saunders, M.R. Mislivets, J.Q. Chen, and D.T. Cleland, ''Effects of roads on landscape structure within nested ecological units of the Northern Great Lakes Region, USA''. Biological Conservation. vol. 103, no. 2, pp. 209-225,2002.
[28] K.A. Theoharides and J.S. Dukes, ''Plant invasion across space and time: factors affecting nonindigenous species success during four stages of invasion''. New Phytologist. vol. 176, no., pp. 256-273,2007.
[29] R.W. Tyser and C.A. Worley, ''Alien flora in grasslands adjacent to road and trail corridors in Glacier National Park, Montana (USA)''. Conservation Biology. vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 253-262,1992.
[30] R.Z. Watkins, J.Q. Chen, J. Pickens, and K.D. Brosofske, ''Effects of forest roads on understory plants in a managed hardwood landscape''. Conservation Biology. vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 411-419,2003.
[31] A.W. Coffin, ''From roadkill to road ecology: a review of the ecological effects of roads''. Journal of Transport Geography. vol. 15, no., pp. 396-406,2007.
[32] W.M. Lonsdale and A.M. Lane, ''Tourist vehicles as vectors of weed seeds in Kakadu-National-Park, Northern Australia''. Biological Conservation. vol. 69, no. 3, pp. 277-283,1994.
[33] C.H. Greenberg, S.H. Crownover, and D.R. Gordon, ''Roadside soils: a corridor for invasion of xeric scrub by nonindigenous plants''. Natural Areas Journal. vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 99-109,1997.
[34] S.C. Trombulak and C.A. Frissell, ''Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrial and aquatic communities''. Conservation Biology. vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 18-30,2000.
[35] Y. Jodoin, et al., ''Highways as corridors and habitats for the invasive common reed Phragmites australis in Quebec, Canada''. Journal of Applied Ecology. vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 459-466,2008.
[36] I.F. Spellerberg, ''Ecological effects of roads and traffic: a literature review''. Global Ecology and Biogeography. vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 317-333,1998.
[37] L. Borghesio, ''Effects of fire on the vegetation of a lowland heathland in North-western Italy''. Plant Ecology. vol. 201, no. 2, pp. 723-731,2009.
[38] L.A. Parendes and J.A. Jones, ''Role of light availability and dispersal in exotic plant invasion along roads and streams in the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, Oregon''. Conservation Biology. vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 64-75,2000.
[39] T. Frissell, ''Review of ecological effects of roads on terrestrail and aquatic communities''. Conservation Biology. vol. 14, no., pp. 18-30,2000.
[40] M.M. Abd El-Ghani and N.A. El-Sawaf, ''The coastal roadside vegetation and environmental gradients in the arid lands of Egypt''. Community Ecology. vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 143-154,2005.
[41] P.G. Angold, ''The impact of a road upon adjacent heathland vegetation: effects on plant species composition''. Journal of Applied Ecology. vol. 34, no. 2, pp. 409-417,1997.
[42] A.M. Farmer, ''The effects of dust on vegetation - a review''. Environmental Pollution. vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 63-75,1993.
[43] R.T.T. Forman, et al., Road ecology: science and solutions. Washington, D.C.: Island Press 2002.
[44] R. Huang, ''Resources value and cultivation techniques of Glycine soja''. Resource Development & Market. vol. 24, no., pp. 771-772, 814,2008.