IMIS | Flanders Marine Institute
 

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

IMIS

Publications | Institutes | Persons | Datasets | Projects | Maps
[ report an error in this record ]basket (0): add | show Printer-friendly version

Low level off-road vehicle (ORV) traffic negatively impacts macroinvertebrate assemblages at sandy beaches in south-western Australia
Davies, R.; Speldewinde, P.C.; Stewart, B.A. (2016). Low level off-road vehicle (ORV) traffic negatively impacts macroinvertebrate assemblages at sandy beaches in south-western Australia. NPG Scientific Reports 6(24899): 8 pp. http://hdl.handle.net/10.1038/srep24899
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Davies, R.
  • Speldewinde, P.C.
  • Stewart, B.A.

Abstract
    Off-road vehicle use is arguably one of the most environmentally damaging human activities undertaken on sandy beaches worldwide. Existing studies focused on areas of high traffic volumes have demonstrated significantly lower abundance, diversity and species richness of fauna in zones where traffic is concentrated. The impact of lower traffic volumes is unknown. This study aimed to investigate the impacts of relatively low-level vehicle traffic on sandy beach fauna by sampling invertebrate communities at eight beaches located in south-western Australia. We found that even low-level vehicle traffic negatively impacts the physical beach environment, and consequently, the ability of many species to survive in this habitat in the face of this disturbance. Compaction, rutting and displacement of the sand matrix were observed over a large area, resulting in significant decreases in species diversity and density, and measurable shifts in community structure on beaches that experienced off-road vehicle traffic. Communities at impact sites did not display seasonal recovery as traffic was not significantly different between seasons. Given a choice between either reducing traffic volumes, or excluding ORV traffic from beaches, our results suggest that the latter would be more appropriate when the retention of ecological integrity is the objective.

All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy Top | Authors