Install underpasses beneath ski runs
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Infrastructure and land management associated with the ski industry has, on balance, a negative effect on mammals (Sato et al. 2013). One source of impact is habitat fragmentation, through construction of ski runs across previously forested slopes. Underpasses could facilitate mammal movements between habitat patches, especially if they mimic previous ground conditions across rocky slopes.
Sato C.F., Wood J.T. & Lindenmayer D.B. (2013) The effects of winter recreation on alpine and subalpine fauna: a systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS ONE, 8, e64282.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated study in 2009–2013 in a woodland, heath, and grassland site in New South Wales, Australia (Schroder & Sato 2017) found that boulder-filled crossings beneath ski slopes were used by small mammals. Seven mammal species were detected using crossings. From 131 detections where mammals were identified to species, the most frequent were bush rat Rattus fuscipes (62 detections), broad-toothed rat Mastacomys fuscus (35 detection), dusky antechinus Antechinus swainsonii (21 detections) and black rat Rattus rattus (10 detections). Eight boulder-filled crossings were constructed under ski runs on grass slopes of a ski area that operated in June–September. Crossings linked remnant heath or woodland. Crossings comprised trenches, 0.4–2.4 m deep, 1–9 m wide, 12–79 m long and filled with rocks of 0.2–2 m diameter. Mammal passage was monitored using hair tubes every 3–6 m (4–13 tubes/crossing). Most crossings were surveyed biannually (7 days in each March–April and November–December) from March 2009 to April 2013.Study and other actions tested