Promoting Wildlife-Friendly Roads, Rails, and Power Lines in Asia

Asia is home to some of the world’s most abundant biodiversity, complex ecosystems, and natural resources. The region's low-lying rainforests are responsible for valuable ecosystem services like carbon capture, underpin Gross Domestic Product, and secure countries’ long-term sustainability. However, to maintain current economic growth, it is estimated that Asia will need more than 1.7 trillion dollars in investment to rapidly build necessary transportation and power infrastructure. The construction of linear infrastructure, like roads, bridges, railways, and power lines, will fragment existing natural areas, contributing to rapid environmental degradation and threatening the livelihoods of millions of people who rely on land and natural resources for their survival.

Given the scope and potential consequences of this new linear infrastructure in Asia, Conservation Strategy Fund is partnering with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC) on a project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) entitled Linear Infrastructure Safeguards in Asia (LISA). The overall aim of the LISA project is to determine key interventions and environmental mitigation measures that can address future rapid infrastructure development in the region. The project will evaluate ongoing and proposed infrastructure projects throughout Asia to: i) evaluate how well biodiversity is incorporated in planning and implementation phases, ii) review the current capacities of Asian officials in public and private sectors, iii) consider constraints to the implementation of environmental safeguards, and iv) assess the overall state of knowledge on the impacts of infrastructure on the environment. The project will focus most on infrastructure development that threatens areas of high biodiversity, critical watersheds, and forest ecosystems.

One of the primary reasons that environmental safeguards such as wildlife crossings are not included in linear infrastructure projects is because they are perceived as too costly, and the resources to build them are not included in project budgets and financing. CSF is providing expertise on the economic benefits of safeguards, such as reductions in crop damages, vehicle collisions and other human-wildlife conflict, in order to help justify investments in these important wildlife protection measures. CSF is also assisting in the development of training materials for infrastructure professionals throughout Asia on the importance of wildlife-friendly infrastructure development and the economic benefits of wildlife protection.

Through this project, CSF will have the opportunity to use our strengths and deep experience in promoting better infrastructure development to help mainstream environmental and social planning measures, promoting more sustainable and resilient development across Asia.

This project was made possible by the United States Agency for International Development and the generous support of the American People through the Engineering Surge Support AID-OAA-TO-16-00028 Work Assignment 13 Linear Infrastructure Safeguards in Asia (LISA).

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