The ecology of roads is the ecology of roadside verges and most studies of these have been carried out in the countryside where their importance for wildlife is considerable. By contrast, verges in urban areas are rarely studied or mentioned in the conservation literature. Priorities here are concerned more with ensuring good visibility, providing an access way for public services and helping, through landscape work, to integrate roads and footpaths into the surrounding built-up area. Any benefits to wildlife are incidental. However, living systems even when composed of a rather limited selection of planted rigorously maintained species develop their own ecology, and urban road verges are no exception. There are as many interrelationships to be discovered in a line of town trees growing out of a grassy verge by a busy road as in better known linear habitats such as hedges or canals. Some of the features exhibited are unique to towns, other such as the effects of de-icing salt and exhaust emissions are shared with rural areas.


Vehicle Exhaust Horse Chestnut Street Tree Road Verge Salt Application 
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Copyright information

© O.L. Gilbert 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. L. Gilbert
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of SheffieldUK

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