Traffication develops a bold new idea: that the trillions of miles of driving we do each year are just as destructive to our natural environment as any of the better-known threats, such as habitat loss or intensive farming. The problem is not simply one of roadkill; the impacts of roads are far more pervasive, and they impact our wildlife in many subtle and unpredictable ways.
Using the latest research, the book reveals how road traffic shatters essential biological processes, affecting how animals communicate, move around, feed, reproduce and die. Most importantly, it shows that the influence of traffic extends well beyond the verge, and that a busy road can strip the wildlife from our countryside for miles around. In the UK, almost nowhere is exempt from this environmental toll. Yet the final message here is one of hope: by identifying the car as a major cause of the catastrophic loss of wildlife, the solutions to our biodiversity crisis suddenly become much clearer.
The first step to solving any problem is to recognise that it exists in the first place. But with road traffic, we are not even at that crucial initial stage in our recovery. Quite simply, Traffication does for road traffic what Silent Spring did for agrochemicals: awakening us from our collective road blindness and opening up a whole new chapter in conservation. This urgent book is an essential contribution to the debate on how we restore the health of our countryside – and of our own minds and bodies.
Paul Donald worked in the research department of the RSPB for over twenty years, latterly as Principal Scientist, before moving to BirdLife International as Senior Scientist. He is a recipient of the prestigious ZSL/Marsh Award for Conservation Science and an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Cambridge.