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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Use of non-wildlife passages across a high speed railway by terrestrial vertebrates

Published source details

Rodriguez A., Crema G. & Delibes M. (1996) Use of non-wildlife passages across a high speed railway by terrestrial vertebrates. Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 1527-1540


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Install overpasses over roads/railways Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1991–1992 along a high-speed railway within agricultural land in Castilla La Mancha, Spain (Rodriguez et al. 1996) found that two flyovers not designed for wildlife were used to cross the railway by small mammals, but not by deer or wild boar Sus scrofa. Small mammals were recorded, with data combined between two overpasses and 15 underpasses, 582 times (37/100 passage-days) and brown hare Lepus granatensis and European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, 89 times (5/100 passage-days). Tracks of four carnivore species, red fox Vulpes vulpes, wild cat Felis silvestris, common genet Genetta genetta and Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, were recorded. No deer or wild boar Sus scrofa were recorded using overpasses or underpasses. Two flyovers (small roads) crossing a 25-km section of a high-speed railway were monitored. Sand, 3 cm thick and 1 m wide, was put at one entrance to each. Animal tracks were monitored for 15–22 days/month between September 1991 and July 1992.

(Summarised by Rebecca K. Smith)

Install tunnels/culverts/underpass under railways Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A study in 1991–1992 along a high-speed railway through agricultural land in Castilla La Mancha, Spain (Rodriguez et al. 1996) found that culverts and underpasses not specifically designed for wildlife were used as crossings under the railway by a range of mammals. Small mammals were recorded in culverts/underpasses (and two overpasses) 582 times (37 crossings/100 passage-days) and brown hare Lepus granatensis and European rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus 89 times (5 crossings/100 passage-days). Tracks of four carnivore species, red fox Vulpes vulpes, wild cat Felis silvestris, common genet Genetta genetta and Iberian lynx Lynx pardinus, were recorded. No deer or wild boar Sus scrofa used passages. Rabbit and hare crossing rates were not affected by underpass design, vegetation cover at entrances or distance from scrubland. Small mammals preferred culverts ≤2 m wide. Fencing did not significantly affect relative crossing rates. Fifteen dry culverts and passages (e.g. small roads and two flyovers, 13–64 m long, 1.2–6.0 m wide, 1.2–3.5 m high) along a 25-km section of high-speed railway, were monitored. Tracks in sand were monitored at each passage for 15–22 days/month between September 1991 and July 1992. The railway was fenced with 2-m-high wire netting in July 1991–March 1992.

(Summarised by Rebecca K. Smith)