How are biodiversity and dispersal of species affected by the management of roadsides? A systematic map protocol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: In many parts of the world, roadsides are regularly managed for traffic-safety reasons. Hence, there are similarities between roadsides and certain other managed habitats, such as wooded pastures and mown or grazed grasslands. In contrast to roadsides, the latter habitats have declined rapidly in Europe during the last century, and today only a fraction of their former extent remains. For many species historically associated with these habitats, roadsides may therefore function as new primary habitats or as dispersal corridors in fragmented landscapes. Current recommendations for roadside management to promote conservation values are largely based on studies of plants in semi-natural grasslands, although such areas often differ from roadsides in terms of environmental factors and impacts. Moreover, roadsides provide habitats not only for plants but also for many insects, especially if they are sandy and exposed to the sun. For these reasons, stakeholders in Sweden have emphasised the need for more targeted management recommendations, based on actual studies of roadside biodiversity. Methods: The proposed systematic map is intended to provide an overview of the available evidence on how biodiversity is affected by various forms of roadside management, and how such management influences the dispersal of species along roads or roadsides. Relevant interventions include e.g. mowing, shrub removal, control of invasive/nuisance species, sowing or planting, burning, grazing by livestock, scraping and ditching. Non-intervention or alternative forms of roadside management will be used as comparators. Relevant outcomes include measures of species or genetic diversity, the abundance of individual species or groups of organisms, species distribution patterns, and movement rates of individuals or propagules. Searches will be made for peer-reviewed and grey literature in English and several other languages. No geographical restrictions will be applied, and all species and species groups will be considered.


  • Claes Bernes
  • James M. Bullock
  • Simon Jakobsson
  • Maj Rundlöf
  • Kris Verheyen
  • Regina Lindborg
External organisations
  • Stockholm University
  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Wallingford
  • Ghent University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • Biodiversity, Linear landscape elements, Refugia, Road ecology, Roadside management, Semi-natural grasslands, Species dispersal
Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalEnvironmental Evidence
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Feb 29
Publication categoryResearch

Related activities

Rundlöf, M. (Member)

Activity: Consultancy, expert advice and membershipsWork for advisory/policy/evaluation group or panel (public/government/UN/EU etc)

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