Norton Publishers
Published by
Norton (2023-09-12)
Current material
1st Pass Pages
Original language
Earth Sciences, Geography, Environment, Planning


How Road Ecology Is Shaping the Future of Our Planet

by Goldfarb, Ben

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

Some 40 million miles of roadways encircle the earth, but we tend to regard them only as infrastructure for human convenience. In Crossings, Ben Goldfarb delves into the new science of road ecology to explore how roads have transformed our world. A million animals are killed by cars each day in the US alone, and roads fragment wildlife populations into inbred clusters, disrupt migration for creatures from antelope to salmon, allow invasive plants to spread, and even bend the arc of evolution itself.

But road ecologists are also seeking innovative solutions: Goldfarb meets with conservationists building bridges for mountain lions and tunnels for toads, engineers deconstructing logging roads, and citizens working to undo the havoc highways have wreaked upon cities.
A sweeping, spirited, and timely investigation into how humans have altered the natural world, Crossings also shows us how to create a better future for all living beings.

Ben Goldfarb is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. A recipient of fellowships from the Alicia Patterson Foundation and the Whiting Foundation, he lives in Colorado.

Available rights (1)

Language Territory Type Vendor Status
German World All

Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Marie Arendt

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Crossings, Ben Goldfarb's impassioned quest to understand the ecology of roads and its impact on the natural world, is a marvel. The reader learns something new on every page, disturbed and amazed in equal measure. Goldfarb moves us briskly along the manipulated ecosystem of the highway, with vivid, evocative pitstops for environmental history, ecology, and the built environment. With 15 million additional miles of road scheduled to be built over the globe in the near future, the time for this book is now. Crossings adds a new perspective to conversations on how humans have reshaped life on earth.

Quote: The Whiting Award Judges' Citation

A brilliantly panoptic look at our planet's sprawling network of roads: what's wrong with them, how they got that way, and how they could be set right. Precise in detail but vast in scale, Goldfarb's storytelling carries echoes of Michael Pollan and John McPhee, but with a wry humor that is uniquely his own. He makes it clear that if we are serious about ending the extinction crisis, we must first learn to care about the unnatural disaster that is our road system.

Quote: Robert Moor, best-selling author of On Trails: An Exploration

Whether he is writing about wallabies or butterflies, beavers or anteaters, Ben Goldfarb approaches our fellow animals with delighted curiosity and rare perception. In Crossings, he chronicles their epic struggles within our global network of roads and highways, lighting the way to safer passage for us all. A deeply researched, wonderfully vivid, and genuinely hopeful book.

Quote: Michelle Nijhuis, author of Beloved Beasts

Like some David Attenborough of the asphalt, Ben Goldfarb has written a fascinating guide to understanding the wilder side of roads, both symbols of freedom and harbingers of unnatural selection.

Quote: Tom Vanderbilt, best-selling author of Traffic

A tour de force. Since we're all comfortable on the road, we rarely think how uniquely uncomfortable roads must make everything else in creation. But Ben Goldfarb has done a masterful job of helping us see the world from the vantage point of all the life that must somehow cope with these alien landforms - and of suggesting how we might lessen the remarkable toll they take.

Quote: Bill McKibben, co-founder of

Ben Goldfarb is the kind of gonzo environmental journalist Hunter Thompson would love. He goes everywhere, interviews everyone, pulls his weight alongside biologists, engineers, and road-kill salvagers, then writes compellingly about all of it. Crossings, his meditation on the ecological devastation roads and highways inflict - and on the very clever responses from humans and other creatures that road life demands - is an absolute shining star of a book. Modernity and the mobility all we Earth animals require is never going to look the same again.

Quote: Dan Flores, best-selling author of Coyote America and Wild New World

A truly important and landmark book on a subject whose full impacts continue to be disregarded or underestimated in considering conservation efforts. Crossings is a moving, compassionate, and indispensable guide to navigating the issue of wildlife survival - and our own.

Quote: Jeff VanderMeer, best-selling author of the Southern Reach Trilogy

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