Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years

Date:
October 28, 2013
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
Nearly 17,000 kilometers of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007. Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood. A new study is among the first to measure the number of roads built in a rainforest ecosystem over an extended period of time.

Road in Amazon forest.
Credit: Dr Toby Gardner

Nearly 17,000 kilometres of road were built in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest every year between 2004 and 2007.

Related Articles


Although road-building is a major contributor to deforestation and habitat loss, the way in which road networks develop is still poorly understood.

A new study is among the first to measure the number of roads built in a rainforest ecosystem over an extended period of time. It was published this month in the journal Regional Environmental Change by researchers including two Life Scientists from Imperial College London.

They say studies like this will help combat future deforestation by allowing for more accurate predictions of where it might occur.

Even though roads often occupy less than 2 per cent of a country's land surface, they may have an ecological impact on an area up to ten times as large. These indirect effects can include changes in air and soil temperature and moisture, as well as restrictions on the movement of animals.

Research co-author Dr Rob Ewers, of Imperial's Department of Life Sciences, said: "Knowing where the roads are and the speed at which they are built is key to predicting deforestation.

"A number of models currently exist which rely on this knowledge, but there are no good studies of how quickly roads get built and where they go when they are built.

"An understanding of road networks is the big missing gap in our ability to predict the future of this region."

Members of the research team used pre-existing road maps and satellite imagery to track the evolution of the Brazilian Amazon road network over a period of three years, in collaboration with IMAZON, the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment.

They found that road networks spread most quickly in regions with high economic growth, as well as in areas where new settlements were being built. Once a region had an extensive network of roads in place, however, the rate of building slowed down.

The researchers hope that these findings will improve our understanding of how land use is changing around the world, and help predict deforestation more accurately.

Dr Ewers is currently working on the SAFE (Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems) project, one of the world's largest ecological experiments underway in Borneo.

He and his team will observe the planned logging of a tropical forest under controlled, experimental conditions. Careful observation of how the ecosystem becomes disrupted and breaks down when it is damaged will yield information crucial to future conservation efforts.

Dr Ewers spoke about the project to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge when they travelled through south-east Asia in the summer of 2012.

This work is funded by the Grantham Institute for Climate Change.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. The original article was written by Simon Levey and Gilead Amit. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sadia E. Ahmed, Carlos M. Souza, Jϊlia Riberio, Robert M. Ewers. Temporal patterns of road network development in the Brazilian Amazon. Regional Environmental Change, 2013; 13 (5): 927 DOI: 10.1007/s10113-012-0397-z

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028134838.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2013, October 28). Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028134838.htm
Imperial College London. "Study of Brazilian Amazon shows 50,000 km of road was built in just three years." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131028134838.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) — Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) — Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins