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A recent estimate puts the area currently converted to highways, streets and rights of way (ROW) at some 20 million acres (8 million hectares). (34) As the total road area continues to increase contact with wildlife populations will likewise increase. Further, the cumulative effect of roads may reach some 20% of the total land area of the United States. (42) A number of factors have been suggested as contributing to this far-ranging impact including habitat fragmentation, landscape effects (such as water flow), air pollution, and increased mortality (See references 43,46, 69, and 115). However, recent studies have suggested that noise may have a significant and wide-ranging effect at least on some species (See references 41, 44, 97, 99, and116). Because of the pervasive nature and difficulty in mitigating noise, it may be the most significant factor impacting wildlife. (46) In this report some of the current research on the subject of noise and wildlife is reviewed, areas of incomplete knowledge are identified, and suggestions for future study are made.

Updated: 6/27/2017
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