8 maps showing American lands are changing

“Maps are great tool for locating wildlands and wilderness areas we might want to visit, but they can also tell us much more. Maps can shed light on much larger stories about our changing country and our disappearing wilderness.

“In the past century, American has undergone rapid change – from technology to population growth to energy development- and these changes of modernity are also transforming American lands. Some of these changes become quite visible when a map is the storytelling device. We’ve worked to bring some of those to light in this collection of maps that demonstrate how truly fragile our wildlands are.”

The first map shows how much pavement we’ve placed over once living soils.

  1. Proliferating pavement

“It’s hard to imagine America without its gorgeous mountains and graceful rivers but that’s exactly what is shown in this map of only roads created by Boston-based design firm Fathom. The four million miles of roads (shown in black) that cover the U.S. have a powerful impact on us, from pollution runoff to floods to heat islands. When near wildlands, they also create barriers for migrating wildlife and interrupt other ecological processes. That’s why we support conserving roadless areas.”  Source: wilderness.org

GR:  These maps illustrate some of the consequences of all the things our presence does to our environment.  For many, the changes are unimportant, but for others the changes are a gut-wrenching ruin of so many of our favorite places.  Take a look.

Prevent Road Development from Harming Animals

Target: Prime Minister of Malaysia Perdana Menteri.
Goal: Implement regulations in Malaysia for road development to protect animals.
It is estimated that up to 48 percent of mammals native to Southeast Asia may be extinct in the next 85 years.

Source: forcechange.com

GR:  Roads play a major part in deforestation.  Prevent roads and preserve forests.  Please sign the petition.

New Lawsuit To Protect Richardson Grove Redwoods

News release from EPIC, WildCalifornia:  Following two previously successful federal and state court legal actions, conservation groups and local residents filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging Caltrans’ renewed approval of a controversial highway-widening project that would endanger ancient and irreplaceable redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County. Due to Caltrans’ flawed environmental-review process, the project to cut into and pave over the roots of old-growth redwoods along Highway 101 was halted by a federal court ruling in 2012 and a state court decision earlier this year.

“The shortsightedness of this project is dumbfounding,” said Peter Galvin with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Does Caltrans really expect the public to accept a multimillion dollar project that would needlessly damage this iconic grove of giant redwoods?”

Source: naturalhistorywanderings.com


GR:  Cutting trees to cut time? No problem! The need for speed places public road agencies near the top of the environmental offenders list. For highway planners and engineers, travel time is far more important than trees, animals, or soil. Thus, we must scrutinize all highway plans for the inevitable impacts on nature. We must force Caltrans and other transportation agencies to adhere to the environmental standards that are usually already present in the laws of the land.




Just One Road Can Destroy a Forest


“The international community is engaged in a race to halt biodiversity loss and reduce carbon emissions caused by deforestation. Funding for environmental protection is currently scarce; yet keeping wild areas free of roads is a remarkably cost-efficient way of protecting biodiversity and keeping the planet cool, and is an antidote to slow political decision making. RoadFree brings together environmental experts and partners who are working to keep wild places roadfree.”

Watch the Video.

More posts about roads:


World’s Forests Lost to Clearing and Road Expansion

Roads to Ruin

The world’s last surviving wildernesses are under assault–from unbridled road expansion.  That’s the key message of a press release today, distributed on the International Day of Forests (March 21).

Current estimates suggest that, by 2050, we’ll have another 25 million kilometers of paved roads–enough to encircle the Earth more than 600 times.  Around nine-tenths of those roads will be in developing nations, which sustain many of the planet’s most biologically important ecosystems.

In wilderness areas, new roads often open a Pandora’s Box of environmental problems–such as illegal deforestation, colonization, fires, hunting, and mining.  In the Amazon, for instance, over 95% of all deforestation occurs within 50 kilometers of roads.

The press release was led by European MP Kriton Arsenis, a respected wilderness advocate who runs the RoadFree initiative, and featured comments from ALERT Director, Bill Laurance.

“When it comes to roads in wilderness, the key is to stop the first cut,” said Laurance.  “Keeping roads out is the only truly effective way to ensure wilderness will survive.”

March 20, 2014 /