Protect wilderness from rapacious road expansion

The world's last surviving wildernesses are under assault--from unbridled road expansion.  That's the key message of a press release today, distributed on the International Day of Forests (March 21).

  Roads to ruin... forest clearing in the Amazon

Roads to ruin... forest clearing in the Amazon

Current estimates suggest that, by 2050, we'll have another 25 million kilometers of paved roads--enough to encircle the Earth more than 600 times.  Around nine-tenths of those roads will be in developing nations, which sustain many of the planet's most biologically important ecosystems.

In wilderness areas, new roads often open a Pandora's Box of environmental problems--such as illegal deforestation, colonization, fires, hunting, and mining.  In the Amazon, for instance, over 95% of all deforestation occurs within 50 kilometers of roads.

The press release was led by European MP Kriton Arsenis, a respected wilderness advocate who runs the RoadFree initiative, and featured comments from ALERT Director, Bill Laurance.

"When it comes to roads in wilderness, the key is to stop the first cut," said Laurance.  "Keeping roads out is the only truly effective way to ensure wilderness will survive."