3 February 2012 - Large infrastructure projects
such as roads, railroads, mining sites, pipelines and fences
can have detrimental effects on migratory gazelles, Wild
Asses and Saiga Antelopes, causing not only habitat fragmentation
but also direct mortality. This is the result of a recent
study from WWF Mongolia (click
here), which analyses the barrier effect of
infrastructure development in Mongolia on migratory ungulates.
The study was commissioned by the UNEP/CMS Secretariat with
funding from the Principality of Monaco, and was discussed
at the 17th Scientific Council Meeting in Bergen (17/18
CMS has identified barriers to migration
as a key priority for the conservation of migratory species.
In Central Asia and Mongolia in particular, the number of
planned and constructed large infrastructure projects increased
rapidly over the last years, causing serious threats to
major migratory ungulates such as Goitered and Mongolian
Gazelles, Asiatic Wild Asses, Wild Camels and Saiga Antelopes.
Negative effects include habitat fragmentation and barriers
to migration routes, genetic isolation and splitting of
population as well as direct mortality when animals run
into trucks or die hanging in wired fences.
The research carried out by WWF Mongolia
was the first attempt to summarize existing literature on
habitat fragmentation and disturbance of migration routes
due to linear infrastructure. It brought together main stakeholders
and decision-makers to discuss the current mining and infrastructure
situation in Mongolia and agree on appropriate mitigation
measures. For new infrastructure projects for example, this
would include environmental impact assessments as well as
the consideration of protected areas and critical migration
routes and habitat sites. At the same time, existing infrastructure
needs to incorporate wildlife friendly mitigation measures,
including the partial removal of railway fences, extension
of existing tunnels or underpasses, and inserting wildlife
friendly road signs.
This Mongolian case study serves as the
starting point to initiate further concise action to address
the issue of barriers to the migration of terrestrial mammals.
This will include stakeholder workshops and dialogues as
well as the development of guidelines for similar types
of infrastructure projects in Mongolia and Central Asia
but also worldwide.
For further information see the research report: Barriers
to Migration – Case Study in Mongolia. Analyzing the
Effects of Infrastructure on Migratory Terrestrial Mammals
For more information about COP10, read the special post-COP
edition of the CMS