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Molly Davis

on 1 December 2013

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Importance of routeways
Routeways are distinctive habitats because exotic species of plants and animals provide wildlife corridors.

These specilised areas are so distinct because they attract rare species such as salt tolerant plants on the road side after grit from trucks brings salty grit meaning only certain types of plants will flourish, routeway ecosystems also support specific biodiversity and food chains this is what makes routeway ecosystems so special.
Road routeway ecosystem.
Plants grow by the roadside. Cars carry seeds to verges and exaust fumes are rich in nitrogen which aids growth. Road verge nature reserves are the most biodiverse parts of the green network of verges running along roads in the countryside. They connect the countryside and allow wildlife to move through what otherwise would be inhospitable landscape. There are 30 road verge nature reserves in Oxfordshire which are managed by the highway and transport team.
Many different plants are found along railways for example Oxford ragwort and clover as trains bring seeds from a wide area as they travel.
Patches of wetland plants for example rushes grow along the side of the railway tracks becuase of the railway beds which drain water away from the tracks and create mini wetlands.
Railway line verges offer security from human disturbance with the wildlife quickly adapting to the noise and wind gernerated by the passing trains.
The growth of urban areas creates small scale ecosystems and new niches.
Routeways in which new ecosytems occur include railways, road sides and canals.
RVNRs (Road verge nature reserves)
RVNRs are really special because the growth of specialised grasses and flowers are so unusual in this location. The long grasses in the RVNRs allows insects such as bees and butterflys aswell as reptiles such as grass snakes to breed in the spring and hibernate in the winter.
RVNRs are marked with posts so they can be recognised. Grass cutters know to only cut the grass at the end of the summer. This allows plants to flower and drop their seeds for the following year before the grass is cut. Also RVNRs are cut every year to prevent some aggressive hedgerow species such as Hawthorn overtaking the other plants.
Salt Importance
In the winter when the gritters are out they drop large amounts of salt which reaches the side verges of the road. This means the soil becomes icreasingly saline and plants which are not salt tolerant will die. New pioneer species such as Couchgrass will flurish as seeds will be carried along by cars.
Railway routeway ecosystems
Railway companies cut vegetation back which means hardy shrubs such as gorse, hawthorn and brambles grow quickly back which are resistant to herbicides they use.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway was constricted from 2001 to 2007 and it is designed to be the highest railway in the world. In Beijing China, the ecosystems that run along side the railway is now to be protected as it is so precious. The enviroment surrounding the new railway is a priority and many measures have been taken to protect this unique ecosystem. The specialised area of land surrounding the railway have been protected and monitored to protect specialised plants and wildlife that relies on this specific frozen area.
Qinghai-Tibet railway
Canals act like long ponds and attract a specific type of wildlife. For example ducks and reeds. Managment is important for preserving the specific wildlife of the canals many goverment organisations and charities practice and produce policy documents for canal managers. Some of these are in the public domain, but many remain in-house with British Waterways. These include the BW Environmental Code of Practice, Bank Protection Manual, Wildlife Sites Register and Biodiversity Strategy as well as numerous individual canal ecological assessments and strategies.
Canal routeway ecosystem
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