By Kevin Boston
Forest roads are a necessary element for accessing forestry resources, but their impact on the environment can be significant. Forest roads can cause a variety of impacts on local wildlife that may lead to extirpation: facilitating the spread of invasive organisms, causing death or harm by vehicle strikes, and changing the behaviour of animals to their detriment. Roads create improved access to forests, which can increase predation rates from hunters. Animals may move to avoid traffic noise, increasing their vulnerability to predation by other animals. One of the most significant impacts of forest roads is on water quality, through both catastrophic and chronic sources of water pollution, primarily from sediment. While it is not the case that every road will cause any or all of these impacts, for those that do, mitigation measures can be used to lessen these negative effects. These mitigation measures must begin during the location phase of the road and should continue through construction, use, and maintenance of the roads. Application of these mitigation measures allows forest man- agers to minimize the impacts from their forest roads when necessary.