1. bookVolume 39 (2020): Issue 1 (March 2020)
Journal Details
First Published
24 Aug 2013
Publication timeframe
4 times per year
access type Open Access

Modelling in the Context of an Environmental Mobilisation: A Graph-Based Approach for Assessing the Landscape Ecological Impacts of a Highway Project

Published Online: 27 Feb 2020
Page range: 88 - 100
Journal Details
First Published
24 Aug 2013
Publication timeframe
4 times per year

The construction of highways leads to several environmental and landscape impacts, including the fragmentation of natural habitats for many animal species. Highway projects are therefore generally accompanied by mobilisations from the inhabitants of the areas concerned and environmental associations. This work aims to model the potential impacts of a highway project in France on ecological networks and to study the reception of the results by the opponents of this project. We have adopted a three-step approach. First, a land-cover map of the study area was produced at a fine scale of 10 m resolution. Second, we developed a multi-species approach by defining fifteen species groups representative of different habitats of our study area. Third, the design of landscape graphs and the resulting calculation of connectivity metrics allowed mapping the impact of the highway on multi-species ecological connectivity. Reflexive feedback from comments on these results by the public during a mobilisation day against the highway project allows assessment of the relevance of such a modelling approach in this context.


Alberti, M. (2005). The effects of urban patterns on ecosystem function. International Regional Science Review, 28, 168–192. DOI: 10.1177/0160017605275160.Search in Google Scholar

Angelsen, A. & Kaimowitz D. (1999). Rethinking the causes of deforestation : Lessons from economic models. World Bank Research Observer, 14, 73–98. DOI: 10.1093/wbro/14.1.73.Search in Google Scholar

Bourgeois, M., Cossart, É. & Fressard M. (2018). Mesurer et spatialiser la connectivité pour modéliser les changements des systèmes environnementaux. Approches comparées en écologie du paysage et en géomorphologie. Géomorphologie Relief Processus Environnement, 23, 289–308. DOI: 10.4000/geomorphologie.11895.Search in Google Scholar

Calabrese, J.M. & Fagan W.F. (2004). A comparison-shopper’s guide to connectivity metrics. Frontier Ecology Environment, 2, 529–536. DOI: 10.2307/3868383.Search in Google Scholar

Carr, L.W., Fahrig, L. & Pope S.E. (2002). Impacts of landscape transformation by roads. In K.J. Gutzwiller (Ed.), Applying landscape ecology in biological conservation (pp. 225−243). New-York: Springer-Verlaag.Search in Google Scholar

Clauzel, C., Girardet, X. & Foltête J.-C. (2013). Impact assessment of a high-speed railway line on species distribution: application to the European tree frog (Hyla arborea) in Franche-Comté. J. Environ. Manag., 127, 125–134. DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.04.018.Search in Google Scholar

Coffin, A.W. (2007). From roadkill to road ecology : A review of the ecological effects of roads. Journal of Transport Geography, 15, 396–406. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2006.11.006.Search in Google Scholar

Cushman, S.A. (2006). Effects of habitat loss and fragmentation on amphibians : A review and prospectus. Biol. Conserv., 128, 231–240. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.09.031.Search in Google Scholar

Fahrig, L. (2003). Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst., 34, 487–515. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.34.011802.132419.Search in Google Scholar

Fahrig, L. & Rytwinski T. (2009). Effects of roads and traffic on wildlife populations and landscape function effects of roads on animal abundance: an empirical review and synthesis. Ecol. Soc., 14, 21. DOI: 10.5751/es-02815-140121.Search in Google Scholar

Foltête, J.-C., Clauzel, C. & Vuidel G. (2012). A software tool dedicated to the modelling of landscape networks. Environmental Modelling and Software, 38, 316–327. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2012.07.002.Search in Google Scholar

Foltête, J.-C., Girardet, X. & Clauzel C. (2014). A methodological framework for the use of landscape graphs in land-use planning. Landsc. Urban Plann., 124, 140–150. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.12.012.Search in Google Scholar

Forman, R.T.T. & Alexander L.E. (1998). Roads and their major ecological effects. Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 29, 207–231. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.29.1.207.Search in Google Scholar

Forman, R.T.T., Sperling, D., Bissonette, J.A., Clevenger, A.P., Cutshall, C.D., Dale, V.H., Fahrig, L., France, R., Goldman, C.R., Heanue, K., Jones, J.A., Swanson, F.J., Turrentine, T. & Winter T.C. (2003). Road ecology: Science and solutions. Washington: Island Press.Search in Google Scholar

Fu, W., Liu, S., Degloria, S.D., Dong, S. & Beazley R. (2010). Characterizing the ‘fragmentation–barrier’ effect of road networks on landscape connectivity: A case study in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China. Landsc. Urban Plann., 95, 122–129. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2009.12.009.Search in Google Scholar

Galpern, P., Manseau, M. & Fall A. (2011). Patch-based graphs of landscape connectivity: A guide to construction, analysis and application for conservation. Biol. Conserv., 144, 44–55. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.09.002.Search in Google Scholar

Girardet, X., Foltête, J.-C. & Clauzel C. (2013). Designing a graph-based approach to landscape ecological assessment of linear infrastructures. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 42, 10–17. DOI: 10.1016/j.eiar.2013.03.004.Search in Google Scholar

Gurrutxaga, M., Lozano, P.J. & Del Barrio G. (2010). Assessing highway permeability for the restoration of landscape connectivity between protected areas in the Basque Country, Northern Spain. Landscape Research, 35, 529–550. DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2010.504915.Search in Google Scholar

Gurrutxaga, M., Rubio, L. & Saura S. (2011). Key connectors in protected forest area networks and the impact of highways: A transnational case study from the Cantabrian Range to the Western Alps (SW Europe). Landsc. Urban Plann., 101, 310–320. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.02.036.Search in Google Scholar

Hirzel, A.H. & Le Lay G. (2008). Habitat suitability modelling and niche theory. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 1372–1381. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2008.01524.x.Search in Google Scholar

Holderegger, R. & Di Giulio M. (2010). The genetic effects of roads: A review of empirical evidence. Basic and Applied Ecology, 11, 522–531. DOI: 10.1016/j.baae.2010.06.006.Search in Google Scholar

Inglada, J., Vincent, A., Arias, M., Tardy, B., Morin, D. & Rodes I. (2017). Operational high resolution land cover map production at the country scale using satellite image time series. Remote Sensing, 9, 95. DOI: 10.3390/rs9010095.Search in Google Scholar

Izakovičová, Z. & Świąder M. (2017). Building ecological networks in Slovakia and Poland. Ekológia (Bratislava), 36(4), 302−322. DOI: 10.1515/eko-2017-0025.Search in Google Scholar

Jaarsma, C.F., van Langeve, F. & Beunen R. (2013). Landscape ecology and Rural roads: traffic calming for improving both landscape and wildlife? Ekológia (Bratislava), 32(4), 352−360. DOI: 10.2478/eko-2013-0032.Search in Google Scholar

Lindenmayer, D.B., Margules, C.R. & Botkin D.B. (2000). Indicators of biodiversity for ecologically sustainable forest management. Conserv. Biol., 14, 941–950. DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1739.2000.98533.x.Search in Google Scholar

Marsh, D.M., Page, R.B., Hanlon, T.J., Corritone, R., Little, E.C., Seifert, D.E. & Cabe P.R. (2008). Effects of roads on patterns of genetic differentiation in red-backed salamanders, Plethodon cinereus. Conservation Genetics, 9, 603–613. DOI: 10.1007/s10592-007-9377-0.Search in Google Scholar

Marull, J. & Mallarach J.M. (2005). A GIS methodology for assessing ecological connectivity: application to the Barcelona Metropolitan Area. Landsc. Urban Plann., 71, 243–262. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2004.03.007.Search in Google Scholar

Mimet, A., Clauzel, C. & Foltête J.-C. (2016). Locating wildlife crossings for multispecies connectivity across linear infrastructures. Landsc. Ecol., 31, 1955–1973. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-016-0373-y.Search in Google Scholar

Rashidi, M., Chamani, A. & Moshtaghi M. (2019). The influence of transport infrastructure development on bird diversity and abundance. Ekológia (Bratislava), 38(2), 178−188. DOI: 10.2478/eko-2019-0014.Search in Google Scholar

Rayfield, B., Fortin, M.-J. & Fall A. (2011). Connectivity for conservation: a framework to classify network measures. Ecology, 92, 847–858. DOI: 10.1890/09-2190.1.Search in Google Scholar

Reijnen, R. & Foppen R.P.B. (2006). Impact of road traffic on breeding bird populations. In J. Davenport & J.L. Davenport (Eds.), The ecology of transportation: Managing mobility for the environment (pp. 255−274). Dordrecht: Springer.Search in Google Scholar

Roedenbeck, I.A. & Voser P. (2008). Effects of roads on spatial distribution, abundance and mortality of brown hare (Lepus europaeus) in Switzerland. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 54, 425–437. DOI: 10.1007/s10344-007-0166-3.Search in Google Scholar

Sahraoui, Y., Foltête, J.-C. & Clauzel C. (2017). A multi-species approach for assessing the impact of land-cover changes on landscape connectivity. Landsc. Ecol., 32, 1819–1835. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-017-0551-6.Search in Google Scholar

Saura, S., Estreguil, C., Mouton, C. & Rodriguez-Freire M. (2011). Network analysis to assess landscape connectivity trends: Application to European forests (1990−2000). Ecol. Indic., 11, 407−416. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2010.06.011.Search in Google Scholar

Tannier, C., Foltête, J.-C. & Girardet X. (2012). Assessing the capacity of different urban forms to preserve the connectivity of ecological habitats. Landsc. Urban Plann., 105, 128–139. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.12.008.Search in Google Scholar

Tannier, C., Bourgeois, M., Houot, H. & Foltête J.-C. (2016). Impact of urban developments on the functional connectivity of forested habitats: A joint contribution of advanced urban models and landscape graphs. Land Use Policy, 52, 76–91. DOI: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.12.002.Search in Google Scholar

Taylor, P.D., Fahrig, L., Henein, K. & Merriam G. (1993). Connectivity is a vital element of landscape structure. Oikos, 68, 571–573. DOI: 10.2307/3544927.Search in Google Scholar

Theobald, D.M., Miller, J.R. & Hobbs N.T. (1997). Estimating the cumulative effects of development on wildlife habitat. Landsc. Urban Plann., 39, 25–36. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(97)00041-8.Search in Google Scholar

Urban, D.L., Minor, E.S., Treml, E.A. & Schick R.S. (2009). Graph models of habitat mosaics. Ecol. Lett., 12, 260–273. DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01271.x.Search in Google Scholar

Vasas, V., Magura, T., Jordán, F. & Tóthmérész B. (2009). Graph theory in action: evaluating planned highway tracks based on connectivity measures. Landsc. Ecol., 24, 581–586. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-009-9346-8.Search in Google Scholar

Verbeylen, G., De Bruyn, L., Adriaensen, F. & Matthysen E. (2003). Does matrix resistance influence Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L. 1758) distribution in an urban landscape? Landsc. Ecol., 18, 791–805. DOI: 10.1023/B: LAND.0000014492.50765.05.Search in Google Scholar

Vogt, P., Riitters, K.H., Estreguil, C., Kozak, J., Wade, T.G. & Wickham J.D. (2007). Mapping spatial patterns with morphological image processing. Landsc. Ecol., 22, 171–177. DOI: 10.1007/s10980-006-9013-2.Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo