Bad roads, good roads

Laurance, William F. (2015) Bad roads, good roads. In: Van Der Ree, Rodney, and Smith, Daniel J., (eds.) Handbook of Road Ecology. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK, pp. 10-15.

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Roads greatly influence the footprint of human activity, but they are often constructed with little consideration of their environmental impacts, especially in developing nations. Here, differences between environmentally 'good' and 'bad' roads are highlighted, and it is argued that a proactive road‐zoning system is direly needed at international and national scales. Such a zoning system could identify areas where the environmental costs of roads are likely to be high and their socioeconomic benefits low, as well as areas where road improvements could have modest environmental costs and large societal benefits.

2.1 Land‐use pressures will rise sharply this century and will be strongly influenced by roads.

2.2 Agricultural yield increases alone will not spare nature – land‐use zoning is crucial too.

2.3 Roads in pristine areas are environmentally dangerous – the first cut is critical.

2.4 Paved highways have especially large‐scale impacts.

2.5 Roads can be environmentally beneficial in certain contexts.

2.6 Roads are amenable to policy modification.

2.7 A recently proposed global road‐mapping scheme could serve as a potential model for these efforts.

This road‐planning scheme could be an important tool for prioritising road investments and for underscoring the transformative role of roads in determining environmental change. An overriding priority is to proactively zone roads at a range of spatial scales while highlighting their critical role in provoking environmental change. Keeping roads out of surviving irreplaceable natural areas is among the most tractable and cost‐effective ways to protect crucial ecosystems and the vital services they provide, whereas roads in the right places can facilitate increases in agricultural productivity and efficiency.

Item ID: 43356
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-118-56818-7
Date Deposited: 25 Oct 2016 23:52
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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