Spatial Extent of the Impact of Transported Road Materials on the Ecological Function of Forested Landscapes

This project investigates the impact of different types of roads on the plant community structure and soil environment (chemical and biological) of nearby forests. Our hypothesis is that deicing salt and other road particles alter the soil environment and local plant diversity of surrounding forests, and that the extent of the impact decreases with greater distance from the road. Furthermore, this impact is likely to vary depending on road type and presence or absence of a swale to collect and redirect material flows. We are sampling plant community structure, soil chemistry, and soil biology of the roadside landscape for three road types (unpaved, paved 2-land, and highway) and two road profiles (swale, no swale) at six different distances from the road edge. We will also include additional variables such as traffic volume in the analysis. The sampling location, road edges, and all sampling points are precisely geo-referenced and mapped. At each sampling location, measurements of slope, aspect, elevation, road width, tree canopy gap width will be determined. This empirical data will be used to develop a methodology that can be used within transportation models to determine the total landscape impact based on alternative development scenarios and road density patterns.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $197485.00
  • Contract Numbers:



  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Troy, Austin

    Aultman-Hall, Lisa

  • Performing Organizations:

    UVM Transportation Center

    University of Vermont
    210 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT  United States  05405
  • Principal Investigators:

    Neher, Deborah

  • Start Date: 20100101
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20120630
  • Source Data: RiP Project 15390

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01569206
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: UVM Transportation Center
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT06-G-0018, 022315
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Jul 2 2015 1:01AM