Roads, development and conservation in the Congo Basin

Excerpt from abstract of paper by David Wilkie, Ellen Shaw, Fiona Rotberg, Gilda Morelli and Phillippe Auzel: "...Road density is closely linked to market accessibility, economic growth, natural resource exploitation, habitat fragmentation, deforestation, and the disappearance of wildlands and wildlife. Research in the Republic of Congo shows that roads established and maintained by logging concessions intensify bushmeat hunting by providing hunters greater access to relatively unexploited populations of forest wildlife and by lowering hunters' costs to transport bushmeat to market. Reconciling the contrary effects of roads on economic development and biodiversity conservation is one of the key challenges to wildlife managers in all nations. As the Democratic Republic of Congo prepares to reconstruct its almost completely collapsed road system, the government, donors, and conservation organizations have a unique opportunity to strategically prioritize investment in segments of the network that would maximize local and national economic benefits while minimizing adverse effects on forest wildlife..."

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