Utility Rights-of-Way Wildlife Research at Penn State
Plant and animal community response to long-term vegetation management on rights-of-way

Key Research Findings

Plant and Animal Response to Right-of-Way Treatments

Researchers began documenting game species such as white-tailed deer and eastern cottontails on treated SGL33 sites in the 1950s, and continue to monitor and measure plant and animal biodiversity within both study areas. From 1982 to the present, there has been a concerted effort to examine wildlife usage of rights-of-way through a series of studies focusing on songbirds, large and small mammals, butterflies, amphibians and reptiles. Key findings from these studies are described below.


Relative species richness of native bird, reptile, small mammal, and butterfly populations in a variety of right-of-way treatments compared to the adjacent mature forest.

  • Butterflies
  • Small Mammals
  • Reptiles
  • Birds

Untreated Forest

Treated Right-of-Way