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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Institute of the Environment

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Wildland road removal is a common practice across the U.S. and in some parts of Canada. The main types of road removal include ripping, stream crossing restoration, and full recontour. Road removal creates a short-term disturbance that may temporarily increase sediment loss. However, research and long-term monitoring have shown that road removal both reduces erosion rates and the risk of road-induced landslides. Research is needed to determine whether road removal is effective at restoring ecosystem processes and wildlife habitat. We propose several research questions and the types of studies needed to further road removal efforts. With greater understanding of the impacts of road removal, land managers can more effectively prioritize which roads to leave open and which roads to consider for future road removal projects.

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