Manmade Roads Shatter Earth’s Surface Into 600,000 Fragments; Bad For Ecology!

First Posted: Dec 21, 2016 03:16 AM EST

A new study, conducted by researchers at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development in Germany, has found that roads shatter the surface of the planet into over 600,000 fragments, and more than half of them are smaller than 1 square kilometer. Moreover, roads also reduce the ecosystems' ability to function effectively.

It is true that although humans cannot really do without roads, their construction has come at a high ecological price for Earth's natural world, the study found out. The team of researchers used a data set of 36 million kilometers of roads across the planet's landscapes.

Apart from shattering the surface of the Earth, roads have introduced many problems to nature, according to a report on Indian Express. Roads have been synonymous with contamination of wetlands and rivers, increase in soil erosion, spread of diseases and pests as well as interrupt animal populations' gene flow.

Furthermore, throughout history and even now, roads have allowed easy access to remote areas for people that eventually led to deforestation, poaching and illegal logging. This is not all. The construction of roads is a contagious development, which has a cyclic effect where one road leads to the buildup of further roads, subsequently leading to further conversions of natural landscapes.

According to the research team, large tracts of valuable road less areas remain unprotected despite the efforts to conserve the natural heritage of planet Earth. Based on the research, it was found out that the largest road less tracts exist in the boreal forests of Eurasia and North America, as well as some tropical areas of Southeast Asia, South America and Africa. However, only 9 percent of the road less tracts is protected.

According to Mongabay, "All roads affect the environment in some shape or form including timber extraction tracks and minor dirt roads, and the impacts can be felt far beyond the road edge," said Nuria Selva from the Polish Academy of Sciences' Institute of Nature Conservation in Poland. "The area most severely affected is within a one kilometer band on either side of a road."

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