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Does the Maya Forest Need More Roads?

Series number: 
4

CSF Amazon BR-319 Road study featured in The Katoomba Group Ecosystem Marketplace

Photos of BR-319 Road in Brazilian Amazon

New Development and Ecosystem Service Roadkill by John Reid, Leonardo Fleck, and Marcos Amend featured in The Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/pages/article.opinion.php?component_id=6...

A valoração contingente como ferramenta de economia aplicada à conservação ambiental: o caso da Estrada Parque Pantanal

Volcán Baru National Park and the Quetzal Trail

In 2003, three road investments were proposed in the vicinity of the Barú Volcano National Park in the province of Chiriquí: (1) a one-lane road from Cerro Punta to Boquete, via the Park; (2) the so-called “southern route” outside the park, from Cuesta de Piedra to Boquete via Palmira; and (3) paving the access roads as far as the guard stations at the Park’s Eastern and Western entrances (see figure 2). Conservation Strategy Fund (CSF) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) conducted an economic analysis of the proposals between February and April, 2003. We employed the “Roads Economic Decision Model,” developed by the World Bank in 1999. The research was jointly funded by the Nature Conservancy and Conservation International (CI), and was one of several factors that led to cancellation of the proposed road through the park. The lower-impact "Southern Route" was selected instead.

Infrastructure Integration and Biodiversity Conservation

From 2004 through 2006, CSF teamed up with the Nature Conservancy and many local organizations on a project to reduce habitat loss resulting from major infrastructure projects. The approach was to better inform stakeholders about the relative economic and environmental merits and impacts of the many construction projects planned for the region. CSF created an inventory of projects, trained conservation leaders in economic tools for project analysis and conducted four field studies. The field studies focused on the proposed roads and dams deemed of greatest environmental concern according to training participants.

Roads in the Selva Maya

An assortment of road projects has been proposed in the border region of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize, which is part of the Maya Forest, the largest contiguous tropical forest in the Americas north of the Amazon. The proposals are apparently aimed at spurring economic growth and reducing the high levels of poverty found in this area. But more and better roads usually bring more people and expand farms. Decision-makers are therefore confronted with a seeming conflict between conservation and development goals. Would new roads be bad or good for the Maya Forest region?

Interoceanica Sur Road in Peru

Tropical forests of southeastern Peru hold the highest biodiversity levels in the world. This unique region is threatened by the construction of a paved road linking Brazil to Peruvian ports on the Pacific Ocean. CSF carried out a study to identify priority areas for conservation investments to mitigate the so-called "Interoceánica Sur" road's impacts. To do this, we analyzed the road’s effects on land-use profits, information we combined with data on the distribution of wild plant and animal species. The economic and biological data was overlaid to find where the greatest conservation gains can be achieved at least cost. Finally, we considered socio-political factors that might favor or restrict conservation.

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