Habitat Fragmentation from Roads: Travel Planning Methods to Safeguard BLM Lands

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This report summarizes existing research on habitat fragmentation and provides recommendations to the BLM on how it can incorporate habitat fragmentation analysis into its travel management planning process.

Key Points

  • Habitat fragmentation from roads presents a major threat to the survival of wildlife populations throughout the United States.
  • In the United States, the public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) provide much of the remaining intact habitat untouched by roads and unaffected by fragmentation from human activities for a wide variety of species, particularly in the West.
  • The travel management planning process provides the most logical and effective context within which to evaluate the current level of habitat fragmentation and take steps to reduce it.
  • Robust and well-accepted metrics exist to measure habitat fragmentation and help design strategies to protect and improve wildlife habitat.
  • Measuring and addressing habitat fragmentation is consistent with the BLM’s legal obligations and its duties as a steward of the public lands.
  • The BLM can and should use various analytical methods as part of its travel management planning process to ensure that decisions are based on an understanding of existing habitat fragmentation and its impacts on wildlife, and to develop road networks that will minimize future habitat fragmentation.