A summary of the environmental impacts of roads, management responses, and research gaps: A literature review

Researcher's Name:Patrick Daigle
Researcher's Affiliation:BC Ministry of Environment
Researcher's Job Title:Science Emeritus
Researcher's Email address:[email protected]
Project Start Date:2009
Project End Date:2010
Location of Study Area:Province of British Columbia
Links to Published Material:
Sponsors/Funders were:BC Ministry of Environment and FORREX


road-effectsThere are an estimated 400 000-550 000 km of unpaved resource roads in British Columbia. These roads are used for forest, mineral, and energy development, commercial and public recreation, and in some cases for access to private land holdings. This literature summary lists road effects on terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, plant communities, and physical elements found across landscapes in British Columbia. These effects may be local or may apply to large areas. Road effects can occur during construction or with subsequent road presence, upkeep, and use. Also summarized are recommendations meant to reduce negative road effects. These include taking a strategic approach to road and access management, using structured road planning methods and tools, implementing mitigation techniques, and following up with effectiveness monitoring and reporting. The summary also provides recommendations for further studies of road effects.

Future Research Suggested by Project

  • Evaluate effectiveness of post-wildfire road treatments.
  • Examine how the impacts of road projects are addressed and documented during environmental impact ¬†assessments.
  • Foster collaboration to address the scientific findings, complexities, pressures, and choices related to road access management.
  • Develop tools/models and low-impact road construction and removal techniques.
  • Examine road effects over time and space.
  • Study the spread of exotic plant species along roads.
  • Plus other research needs identified on page 78 (Table 6) of the paper.


  • Phone 250-837-9311
  • Fax 250-837-9311
  • Email

Mailing Address

  • P.O. Box 2568
  • Revelstoke, British Columbia V0E 2S0
Content © Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology
Site by Perimeter  •  Updated by CMIAE  •  LOGIN