Title Railway edges, ecological corridors: how to conciliate biodiversity and economic management of vegetation?
Author Pujols, J-P
Penone, C
Conference 10th World Congress on Railway Research (WCRR), keeping ahead of the curve through the sharing of knowledge, 25-28 November 2013, Sydney, NSW, Australia
Publication Date 2013-11
Location ARRB library
Abstract Understanding the functioning and the importance of biodiversity in urban areas is essential in an era when more than half of all humans live in cities. The goal of this research project was to understand biodiversity dynamics in towns through the study of interactions between urban areas and railway edges. The research consists in two steps. The first studied the effects of urbanisation on railway edges plant and animal (Orthoptera, snails) communities with both a taxonomic and a functional approach. The second examined the contribution of railway edges to the dynamics of biodiversity in an urban context. The results highlight the importance of filters induced by fragmentation and urban environments on community assembly. Those filters operate a selection of species biological traits, resulting in a non-random simplification of local community compositions. Studies also emphasize the role of railway edges as refuges and show that these areas can provide a functional connectivity in urban areas, which contribute to the attenuation of the effects of fragmentation and isolation induced by urbanisation. Despite this connectivity function, railway edges did not seem to favour invasions by plant species, which seem much more related to train movement. A connectivity improvement, an integrated management and a monitoring of actions in space and time should benefit to railway edges biodiversity in a urban context. This research project sheds light on areas such as railway edges in urban areas and their importance to biodiversity. The next step is then to understand the importance of these areas and the biodiversity they host to city-dwellers.
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Railway edges, ecological corridors
Subjects Biodiversity
Urban area