Site and landscape conditions at white-tailed deer/vehicle collision locations in Illinois
- ISSN: 01692046
- DOI: 10.1016/S0169-2046(99)00006-7
Motor vehicle collisions with white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) present several problems including danger to humans, vehicle damage, and deer mortality. Knowledge of factors influencing deer movements onto or across roads and highways may reduce deer/vehicle collisions on existing roads, and improve planning for future roads. We used remotely sensed data to determine characteristics associated with high accident areas. Topographic features and highway construction variables considered conducive to deer/vehicle accidents were measured around high accident road segments (greater than or equal to 15 accidents from 1989-1993) and randomly selected control sites. Variables were measured on aerial photographs and topographic maps within a 0.8 km radius of the road segments. Landscape composition and spatial structure were quantified with the computer program FRAGSTATS, using a statewide land cover classification derived from Landsat V TM satellite imagery. A logistic regression model composed of site variables predicted that greater distance to forest cover decreased the probability of a road segment being a high deer/vehicle accident site. The presence of adjacent gullies, riparian travel corridors crossing the road, and public recreational land within the 0.8 bm radius increased this probability. A model using only landscape metrics derived from satellite imagery predicted that greater landscape diversity and shorter distances between nearby forest patches increased the probability of a road segment being a high deer/vehicle accident site. Both models discriminated between high and low deer kill sites. Therefore, proactive management of negative deer/human interactions may be accomplished through remote sensing and geographical information systems, (C) 1999 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.