News / Economy

    Study: Roads Expanding Fast Worldwide, Better Planning Needed to Aid Food Output

    FILE - A site manager from China Wuyi, Sinohydro and Shengeli Engineering Construction Group checks progress on Kenya’s Nairobi-Thika highway project, a $28 billion enterprise paid for by China, Kenya and the African Development Bank.
    FILE - A site manager from China Wuyi, Sinohydro and Shengeli Engineering Construction Group checks progress on Kenya’s Nairobi-Thika highway project, a $28 billion enterprise paid for by China, Kenya and the African Development Bank.
    Reuters

    New roads long enough to girdle the Earth 600 times are expected to be built by 2050 and better planning is needed to protect the environment while also raising food production, a study showed on Wednesday.

    The study in the journal Nature showed that roads can aid farmers, especially in developing nations where food production is held back by a lack of access to markets or to fertilizers and other technologies.

    But too often, new roads slice through remaining wildernesses in the Amazon, New Guinea, Siberia or the Congo Basin, which are home to valuable species of animals and plants and help to slow climate change by storing greenhouse gases.

    "While new roads can promote social and economic development, they can also open a Pandora's box of environmental problems," a team of scientists from Australia, Malaysia, the United States, Britain and Costa Rica wrote in the study.

    The report's maps showed that 12 percent of the world land area could benefit from roads to help raise farm output with little environmental damage, such as areas of India, central Europe and Asia, North America and the Sahel in Africa.

    New roads likely to be built by 2050 would total 250 million kilometers (155 million miles), a 60 percent gain from 2010 and long enough to encircle the planet more than 600 times, it said.

    Lead author William Laurance, of James Cook University in Australia, told Reuters the maps were "just a starting point" for a wider debate about the economic impact of roads.

    Many other local factors, such as keeping costs down by taking the shortest route, usually determine routes. Shorter roads also mean less pollution by vehicles.

    "What we're attempting is to put road-building into a wider context," Laurance said. "There are a lot of local factors that will come into actual road planning — but one of the things that's been ignored so far is the 'big picture'."

    Roads help GDP

    Many other studies have shown that roads boost growth. A World Bank report this year about an expansion of the road network in Brazil since the 1960s found that "roads are shown to account for half of per capita GDP growth."

    The maps tried to value the animals and plants in each region and gauge the amount of carbon stored in vegetation, a natural buffer against climate change. They also created an index to value agricultural production.

    Stephen Perz, an expert at the University of Florida, said the quality of data available for creating such maps varied a lot from country to country but that the study could help "a broader effort to improve such maps."

    "Governments routinely plan roads without adequate consultation with local people and construction often goes ahead with insufficient attention to minimizing the environmental effects," he wrote in a comment in Nature.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.9079
    JPY
    USD
    106.10
    GBP
    USD
    0.7636
    CAD
    USD
    1.3106
    INR
    USD
    67.076

    Rates may not be current.