The goal of our Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Europe Section Blog is to share stories and relevant information about activities going on within our section and more broadly in the conservation community. Stories and articles shared on our blog should not be taken as an official position or statement of SCB or SCB Europe Section. Thank you for reading!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Roadless in Baltimore

Report from the ICCB2013 symposium

Representatives of the Society for Conservation Biology - Europe Section participated in a symposium on ‘roadless areas’ as important target areas for biodiversity conservation in Baltimore, USA. The symposium was part of the biennial International Congress for Conservation Biology 2013, celebrated at the Baltimore Convention Center, from 21 to 25 July, and was organized by Dominick de la Salla, president of the North American section of SCB. Further SCB sections represented were Australia, Latin America and Caribbean, as well as the Marine section.
Speakers of the Roadless Symposium in ICCB2013

Nuria Selva and Pierre Ibisch, both members of the Policy Committee of the Europe Section, delivered papers on the European perspective on roadless areas and biodiversity and on a first assessment of the global roadless areas. The presentations were a result of an ongoing cooperation with Google and Kriton Arsenis, Member of the European Parliament. Kriton Arsenis contributed a video message to the symposium, and once more proved that worldwide he is the leading politician striving for a better conservation of roadless areas. Rebecca Moore presented the contribution by Google to the project. At Google, Rebecca conceived and leads the Google Earth Outreach program, and initiated and leads the development of Google Earth Engine

The talk given by Nuria, co-authored by members of the European SCB Policy Committee, Kriton Arsenis and Google staff, summarized conceptual findings highlighting the opportunities for embracing roadless areas conservation in Europe, and also presented recently published results (index for mapping road impacts; publication in Landscape ecology; state of roadless areas conservation in Europe). 

Pierre’s paper, also co-authored by members of the European SCB Policy Committee, Kriton Arsenis and Google staff, presented new results to be published in the near future. For the first time, roadless areas are assessed on all continents. Among others, coverage of functional ecosystems, biomes and protected areas were analysed. Less than 4% of the roadless areas are protected by strict reserves, such as wilderness areas or national parks (IUCN categories I + II); best coverage has been achieved in North America.

Pierre L. Ibisch & Nuria Selva

Roadless and Low Density-Transportation Networks as Permeable Landscapes and Seascapes [Part I]
23 July
Organizer: DellaSala, D., Geos Institute
A vast network of roads and marine highways crisscrosses the planet, transporting people and goods over global distances with substantial environmental impacts. For instance, the ecological footprint of roads is known to extend up to a kilometer on either side of an individual road (road effect zone) with cumulative effects of dense road networks in some regions impacting up to 15-20% of total surface area (e.g., continental USA). Marine transportation networks and associated ship transport lanes also create migration and other problems for wildlife, including acoustic pollution and collision-related mortality. In contrast, areas with low road densities and/or low-traffic volume (marine and terrestrial) and those with no roads (e.g., roadless areas in the USA, South America, Asia, Africa) are a conservation priority globally because they provide habitat for road-adverse wildlife, have characteristic ecological processes, are relatively resistant to weed invasions, act as strongholds for aquatic species, and provide climatic refugia. In some terrestrial regions (e.g., western Europe), only low-density roads with low traffic volume remain and these areas are building blocks for re-wilding landscapes. This symposium will provide a global synthesis of impacts of vast transportation networks and a region by region and a global synthesis on the importance of intact areas showcasing new intactness and human footprint technologies.

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