Wolves, Roads, and Highway Development

  • Bruce E. Kohn
  • Eric M. Anderson
  • Richard P. Thiel

14.1 Introduction

Roads are pervasive in the landscape of the United States and have profound ecological effects (Forman et al. 2003). Recent studies estimate that nearly 20% of the United States is ecologically impacted by the public road system and associated traffic (Forman 2000). In general, wildlife is impacted by roads in four major ways: (1) loss of habitat; (2) traffic mortality; (3) inaccessibility to required resources; and (4) division of populations into smaller, isolated subdivisions (Jaeger et al. 2005). Although gray wolves (Canis lupus) in the upper Great Lakes region are not impacted by all of these factors, their unique and highly variable relationship to humans creates even more complex relationships with roads than many other wildlife species.

Habitat suitability for gray wolves primarily is dependant on two variables: (1) availability of prey, and (2) tolerance of humans who live or recreate near wolves (Mech 1995; United States Fish and Wildlife Service 1992;...


Road Density Great Lake Region Wolf Population Major Highway Rendezvous Site 
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University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point M.S. candidates Douglas P. Shelley, Thomas M. Gehring, David E. Unger, and Jacqui L. Frair, and Michigan State University Ph.D. candidate Paul W. Keenlance played major roles in the US Hwy 53 Research Project. They monitored the radiocollared wolves, conducted the preliminary analyses of those data, and reported the findings in their respective theses. Volunteers Joelle Gehring, Rebecca Montgomery, Alexa Spivy, Michelle Lassige, Lorrie Kohn, and Kelly Jones provided valuable assistance during the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wisconsin Department of Natural ResourcesRhinelanderUSA
  2. 2.College of Natural ResourcesUniversity of Wisconsin Stevens PointStevens PointUSA
  3. 3.Department of Natural ResourcesBabcockUSA

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