Monitoring and assessing global impacts of roads and off-road vehicle traffic

TitleMonitoring and assessing global impacts of roads and off-road vehicle traffic
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHerrick JE, Duniway MC, Karl JW, Van Zee J
Conference NameSociety for Range Management
Conference LocationDenver, CO
ARIS Log Number250893
Keywordsinterpreting indicators, off-road, rangeland health, vehicles
AbstractRapid increases in the number of vehicles, urban sprawl, exurban development and infrastructure development for energy and water have led to dramatic increases in both the size and extent of the global road network. Anecdotal evidence suggests that off-road vehicle traffic has also increased in many areas, particularly in parts of many developing countries where the road network is non-existent or poorly maintained. The impacts of roads, road networks and off-road vehicle traffic on rangelands have received little attention. This is in part due to the complexity of monitoring and assessing their effects on rangeland health and productivity, including hydrology and wildlife populations, across multiple spatial scales. We briefly review current challenges, and present new strategies for applying new and existing tools to monitoring and assessment of road and off-road vehicle impacts at multiple spatial scales. Tools include an adaptation of Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health, LIDAR, laser rangefinders, various types of penetrometers and a checklist for describing hydrologic. We illustrate the application of these tools with examples from a several pilot studies on unpaved road networks in the United States and Mongolia. We conclude by showing how currently available online programs can be used to help design cost-effective monitoring and assessment systems to answer specific questions about road impacts at multiple spatial scales.