How the Car Killed the Countryside

  • Does for road traffic what Silent Spring did for agrochemicals.
  • Uses the latest research to present a bold new explanation for the drastic loss of wildlife from our countryside.
  • Offers a final message of hope – with a route to nature recovery.

    Subject: ecology habitats
    • Coming Soon
    • countryside
    • ecology
    • pollution


    Traffication develops a bold new idea: that the trillions of miles of driving we do each year are just as destructive to our natural environment as any of the better known threats, such as habitat loss or intensive farming. The problem is not simply one of roadkill; the impacts of roads are far more pervasive, and they impact our wildlife in many subtle and unpredictable ways.

    Using the latest research, the book reveals how road traffic shatters essential biological processes, affecting how animals communicate, move around, feed, reproduce and die. Most importantly, it shows that the influence of traffic extends well beyond the verge, and that a busy road can strip the wildlife from our countryside for miles around. In the UK, almost nowhere is exempt from this environmental toll. Yet the final message here is one of hope: by identifying the car as a major cause of the catastrophic loss of wildlife, the solutions to our biodiversity crisis suddenly become much clearer.

    The first step to solving any problem is to recognise that it exists in the first place. But with road traffic, we are not even at that crucial initial stage in our recovery. Quite simply, Traffication does for road traffic what Silent Spring did for agrochemicals: awakening us from our collective road-blindness and opening up a whole new chapter in conservation. This urgent book is an essential contribution to the debate on how we restore the health of our countryside – and of our own minds and bodies.


    • Traffication tells the story of how quickly the car transformed our world and how, equally quickly, scientists highlighted the downsides. But despite several decades of growing evidence, the impact of traffic on the environment remains focused upon congestion, climate change and air pollution, while ignoring the more rural issues that impact directly on nature. The author offers beautiful, heart felt writing and some hopeful concluding chapters.
      —Baroness Jenny Jones, UK Green Party
    • Remarkable! An immensely readable eye-opener. How could we have been so unaware of something so obvious and so damaging to wildlife?
      —Tim Birkhead, author of Birds and Us
    • Traffication is a book to slow down for: provocative, eye-opening and painstakingly researched. It's going to make me rethink the ways we impact our planet through one of the most simple of acts.
      —Stephen Rutt, author of The Eternal Season and The Seafarers

    About the Author

    Dr Paul Donald worked in the research department of the RSPB for over twenty years, latterly as Principal Scientist, before moving to BirdLife International as Senior Scientist. He is a recipient of the prestigious ZSL/Marsh Award for Conservation Science and an Honorary Research Fellow of the University of Cambridge.

    Bibliographic Information

    • 288 pages
    • BISAC SOC026020, NAT000000, NAT011000, TEC003000