How Big Forests Solve Global Problems

By Thomas E. Lovejoy and John Reid

Published in NY Times


Forest conservation solutions are practical and affordable. First, roads need to give big forests a wide berth. The principal underlying driver of fragmentation is road-building, which carves forests into progressively smaller patches and has accounted for 81 percent of losses since 2000. And they usually lose money. One study found that a major new highway in the Brazilian Amazon would return around 6.5 cents on each dollar of investment. Money is better spent by intensifying transportation near towns and existing farms, where the infrastructure can serve more people. A 2014 global study in Nature showed that needed road networks could be developed without fragmenting forests.

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Sara Wissinger