Cleveland, OH

Cleveland State University professor published scientific study about improving rural infrastructure

Paul Krasinic

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CLEVELAND, OH - Emily Rauschert, Ph.D., assistant professor of Plant Ecology and Environmental Science in CSU’s Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences, recently published a collaborative scientific study with researchers from across the world.

The study researches the result of effective planning, management, and maintenance of rural roads impacting the health of air, soil, water, and wildlife ecosystem in rural areas.

This collaborative research titled Ecology and Rural Roads: Effect, Management, and Research, is already published in Issues in Ecology, the research publication of the Ecological Society of America.

The researchers plan to distribute the research documents to the government, park officials, municipal managers, and policymakers to help them improve and develop sustainable rural roadways.

“Some of these low-volume roadways don’t always get the planning, management, and focus that our high-volume, main roads and highways receive. But we need to pay close attention and plan and manage accordingly, because what affects the ecology of rural roadways can also influence the native ecosystems,” Rauschert said. “It is important to recognize that to best manage roads, we need to consider of many different aspects simultaneously, including driver safety, traffic and water flow, and impacts on plants and wildlife.”

Dr. Rauschert’s focus of study highlights the impact of rural roads on the spreading of invasive plant species into natural areas, which presumably could result in negative impacts on native plants, animal habitats, soil, and water in areas like the Cuyahoga Valley National Park system, Cleveland Metroparks roadways and low volume roadways that connect Northeast Ohio’s rural communities to urban areas.

As part of the Ohio Invasive Plants Council member, Dr. Rauschert also helped in identifying invasive species that may threaten ecosystems throughout Northeast Ohio. She plans to work with homeowners and landowners to provide native alternatives to commonly planted invasive species.

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