Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet

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by Ben Goldfarb, 2023. Hardcover, 384 pages.

New York Times Notable Book of 2023 and Editors' Choice • A Science News Favorite Book of 2023 • A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2023 • A Smithsonian Staff Favorite of 2023 • A New Yorker Best Books of 2023 So Far • Named a Fall 2023 Must-Read by OutsideSierra, and the Boston Globe

An eye-opening account of the global ecological transformations wrought by roads, from the award-winning author of 

Some 40 million miles of roadways encircle the earth, yet we tend to regard them only as infrastructure for human convenience. While roads are so ubiquitous they’re practically invisible to us, wild animals experience them as entirely alien forces of death and disruption. In Crossings, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb travels throughout the United States and around the world to investigate how roads have transformed our planet. A million animals are killed by cars each day in the U.S. alone, but as the new science of road ecology shows, the harms of highways extend far beyond roadkill. Creatures from antelope to salmon are losing their ability to migrate in search of food and mates; invasive plants hitch rides in tire treads; road salt contaminates lakes and rivers; and the very noise of traffic chases songbirds from vast swaths of habitat.

Yet road ecologists are also seeking to blunt the destruction through innovative solutions. Goldfarb meets with conservationists building bridges for California’s mountain lions and tunnels for English toads, engineers deconstructing the labyrinth of logging roads that web national forests, animal rehabbers caring for Tasmania’s car-orphaned wallabies, and community organizers working to undo the havoc highways have wreaked upon American cities.

Today, as our planet’s road network continues to grow exponentially, the science of road ecology has become increasingly vital. Written with passion and curiosity, Crossings is a sweeping, spirited, and timely investigation into how humans have altered the natural world―and how we can create a better future for all living beings.

About the Author

Ben Goldfarb is an award-winning environmental journalist whose work has appeared in publications including the Atlantic, National Geographic, and the New York Times, and has been anthologized in the Best American Science & Nature Writing. He is the author of Crossings: How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet and Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award.