In contrast to other fields, environmental protection (e.g., habitat protection) often fails to include quantitative evaluation as part of the existing environmental impact assessment (EIA) process, and therefore the EIA is often a poor forecasting tool, which makes selecting a reasonable plan of action difficult. In this study, we used the Habitat Evaluation Procedure (HEP) to quantify the long-term effects of a road construction project on an ecosystem. The water deer (Hydropotes inermis) was selected as the species of study since it uses an optimum habitat; water deer habitat data were collected on vegetation cover, stream water density, geographic contour, land use class, and road networks. The Habitat Suitability Index (HSI) and Cumulative Habitat Unit (CHU) values for the water deer were estimated to investigate the major land cover classes, the national river systems, and vegetation cover. Results showed that the environmental impact in the road construction project area would result in a net ecological loss value of 1211 without installation of an eco-corridor, which reduced to 662 with an eco-corridor, providing a 55% increase in the net value after 50 years of the mitigation plan. Comparing the 13 proposed ecological mitigation corridors, the corridor that would result in the highest net increase (with an increase of 69.5), was corridor #4, which was regarded as the most appropriate corridor to properly connect water deer habitat. In sum, the study derived the net increase in quantitative values corresponding with different mitigation methods over time for a road construction project; this procedure can be effectively utilized in the future to select the location of ecological corridors while considering the costs of constructing them.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|State||Published - 2 Apr 2019|
- Ecological evaluation
- Habitat evaluation procedure
- Road construction