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Massive new highways will pose unprecedented environmental, social, and economic risks

The Leuser Ecosystem in northern Sumatra, Indonesia is unique—the last place on Earth where Orangutans, Tigers, Elephants, and Rhinos still survive together.

Help stop the devastating BR-319 (Manaus-Porto Velho) Highway!
If completed, this highway will cut the Amazon rainforest in half.

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Global Road Maps

At James Cook University, we work with governments, research groups and local communities in developing countries, promoting smarter development that is better for both people and nature.

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Publications

Read key interviews and publications in Mongabay, Nature, Science, Current Biology & many more. View our articles in The New York Times, The Conversation, Australian Geographic & more.

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Presentations

View a selection of the presentations our researchers have given to promote the benefits of sustainable infrastructure to governments, research groups, and local communities.

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Key facts about roads:

  • The 21st century is seeing an unprecedented expansion of roads
  • At least 25 million kilometers of new roads are expected worldwide by 2050—enough to circle the Earth over 600 times
  • 90% of all road construction is occurring in developing nations, including many regions with exceptional biodiversity and vital ecosystem services
  • Roads penetrating into Earth’s remaining wildernesses are a major driver of habitat loss and fragmentation, wildfires, overhunting, and other environmental degradation
  • Much road construction is chaotic or poorly planned
  • Not all roads are environmentally detrimental
  • Roads or road improvements in areas where most native vegetation has already been removed, and where farming yields are low, can help to improve agriculture and local livelihoods with limited environmental costs
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Volunteer with us

We are seeking volunteers to assist us in digitizing (tracing) new road infrastructure and classifying road attributes in Google Earth. You can do this from home with a computer and internet connection by downloading the free Google Earth application and utilizing spatial data sets that we will provide.

Join our researchers in mapping all roads in the tropics and developing nations to help guide future development towards sustainable outcomes!