HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT AND ROAD COLLISIONS WITH UNGULATES. A RISK ANALYSIS AND DESIGN SOLUTIONS IN TRENTINO, ITALY
Keywords: Human wildlife conflict, FOSS4G software, Ecological connections, Roadkills, Ecosystem services
Abstract. This study investigates wildlife vehicle collisions with wild ungulates in the Italian Autonomous Province of Trento (PAT) located in the Eastern Italian Alps with a consistent anthropic population and pervasive summer and winter tourism. Both the populations of wild ungulates and vehicular traffic are increasing as well as road collisions leading to animals killed, vehicles damaged and human injuries and fatalities. The purpose of this work was to use FOSS4G to identify the road sections with a high number of collisions and then propose and design practical engineering solutions tailored to each of these hotspots. QGIS 3.16.6, GRASS 7.8.5 and GRASS 8.2 were used to standardize the data set, process georeferenced road collision with ungulates registered by local authorities, perform the hotspot analysis and the final maps. Field surveys were carried out to investigate the local morphology at each hotspot and once the more appropriate practical solutions were chosen, a specific detailed project was proposed including its costs. A cost benefit analysis comparing the cost of the infrastructures with the cost of roadkills shows that the infrastructures are effective in reducing the costs in the medium-long term. The construction of the five proposed infrastructures would reduce deer investments by 6% (about 250 collisions avoided in five years). Such solutions should be more numerous and widely distributed in order to have a greater impact. This FOSS4G procedure can be replicated elsewhere to plan the position of crossing structures, and for application to EU funds, thus mitigating Human-wildlife conflicts (HWC).