A better Amazon road network for people and the environment

Publication Spotlight

Image Credit: LACTWG

Written by Diego Varela, Anthony Clevenger & Clara Grilo

November 3, 2020

This study analyzes the expected environmental, social and economic impacts of 75 road projects, totaling 12 thousand kilometers of planned roads, in the region. They found that all projects, although in different magnitudes, will negatively impact the environment. Forty-five percent will also generate economic losses, even without accounting for social and environmental externalities. For projects that exceed a basic economic viability threshold, the authors identify the ones that are comparatively better not only in terms of economic return but also have lower social and environmental impacts. They found that a smaller set of carefully chosen projects could deliver 77% of the economic benefit at 10% of the environmental and social damage, showing that it is possible to have efficient tradeoff decisions informed by legitimately deter- mined national priorities.

Read more at Vilela T., et al. (2020) A better Amazon road network for people and the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(13):7095-7102.

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