An android calculator and freely downloadable app to estimate the $ amount of damages when you drive through an ecologically sensitive area, such as a wildlife rich wooded forest.
We all know that a highway in a forest divides it into two separate patches, and therefore breaks the continuity of the forest. The food and water (grasslands, lakes, ponds etc.) on one side of the forest become less accessible to the wildlife on the other side of the forest and vice-versa. The traffic on the road does disturb the wildlife in many different ways (sound, light & smoke pollution, road kills & injuries, plastic & litter) with many ecological and biological consequences on animal behavior, genetics and population. But how to quantify the damages is the million dollar question. Without a reasonable damage estimate it is difficult to take a shot at exploring the solutions, let alone convincing the powers that be to implement those solutions. Once numbers are out there, it becomes easier to convince policy makers to address the risks/damages now than postponing to a later time.
It is a very challenging problem because of the intangibility of things. To get a $ estimate/figure that is scientifically, legally & socially acceptable and yet practical & simple is quite challenging, to say the least.
Awareness of the problem is a prerequisite to solving it. Unless people are aware of the damages, they take environment for granted and life will be business as usual. It is pointless to talk about policy reforms when people aren’t even aware of the extent of the problem and damages are not quantified. But can you wait for a life time research work to be completed for the perfect answer, while in the meantime, serious damages to biodiversity -(most of them irreversible & significant) are happening due to traffic on these roads. We need a practical & immediately usable solution right now!!
…. the work on creating a calculator for exactly that purpose is in progress and result will be out soon……..well, as they say, the journey had begun….though with a small step 🙂