MOOSE - TRAIN COLLISIONS: THE EFFECTS OF VEGETATION REMOVAL WITH A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS
The number of moose (Alces alces) killed annually in collisions along Norwegian railroads averaged about 500 in the late 1980’s, representing 2% of the total annual hunting bag (25 000 moose) in the same period. However, consequences for management of local and regional moose populations can be considerable in certain areas where collisions are concentrated. In the period 1980 - 1988 a field experiment was carried out in order to test a conflict reducing method. Vegetation removal in a 20-30 m wide sector on each side of the railway line caused a 56% (+/- 16%) reduction in number of train kills. The results from the field experiment have been used in a cost-benefit analysis for the total Norwegian railroad network. If we assume that the number of collisions can be reduced by 50% as a result of vegetation removal, and calculate the cost of this treatment compared to the cost per casualty, it appears to be of positive economical benefit to treat all sections of railroad where the annual number of collisions is higher than 0.3/km. This leads to the conclusion that it is profitable to make these remedial actions along about 500 km of Norwegian railroads, which will require an investment of NOK 11 mill. and give a net economical surplus to society of NOK 31 mill. (1 USD = appr. 6.50 NOK). However, it is necessary to complete the analysis with local evaluations, which must include whether the main problem on each specific railway section really is the vegetation cover.
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