Assessing the Impact of Road Networks on Decreasing the Quality of Wildlife’ Habitats Using the Vicinity Impact Index (Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari Province)

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Student of Environment Sciences, Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL)/ ETHZ, Zürcherstrasse, Birmensdorf, Switzerland.

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran.

5 Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources and Earth Sciences, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran.


Road networks as an integral part of the transportation infrastructure have deleterious ecological effects on habitats and wildlife populations. Vicinity impacts of road networks on habitats together with habitat fragmentation have caused decrease in habitat quality, biodiversity decline. Road networks development is one of the most important risk elements for valuable habitats and species of the Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari province. So, it is necessary to evaluate habitat’s condition and ecosystem services into conservation systematic planning and minimizing its negative impacts. For this purpose, first, the habitat quality of Ovis orientalis Gmelin, (subspecies isphahanica Nasonov), Panthera pardus Pocock, and Ursus arctos Linnaeus,were modeled using Integrated Valuation of Environmental Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST). Then, the vicinity impacts of road networks was assessed using the Vicinity Impact index. To assess the efficiency of the current protected areas network and identifying the priority areas for conservation the Marxan software was used. Results revealed that a large area of the Ch & B province were considered as the suitable habitats for target species. However, high density of the road networks affect 14% of the Ch & B ares which increased the impotance of identifying the prioirity areas in terms of high ecological values and low vicinity impact. The results also showed that eastern, western, and southwestern parts of the province have high ecological values and low vicinity impact. Approximately, 28% of these areas are currently protected which showed the relative efficiency of the current protected areas network.


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Volume 8, Issue 16
Winter and Spring 2021
Pages 37-56
  • Receive Date: 01 November 2020
  • Revise Date: 19 November 2020
  • Accept Date: 19 December 2020