As roads and railways threaten primates, Brazil is a global hotspot

As roads and railways threaten primates, Brazil is a global hotspot

Brazil should be the country of highest priority for measures to save primates from the threats posed by roads and railway lines, according to a study. It highlighted the Amazon and the Atlantic Forest as the regions most in need of preservation and mitigation actions, and recommended that the construction of roads, railways, power lines, pipelines and waterways be avoided because of the vulnerability of native primate species. The study, published March 2021 in the International Journal of Primatology, was carried out by researchers in Portugal and Spain. It found that 65% of the planet’s primates are at risk of extinction, with the greatest visible threats coming from the expansion of agribusiness, illegal logging, hunting, and capture. “Transportation infrastructure like highways and railways, power lines, pipelines and artificial waterways also have a hand in the current biodiversity crisis, but are oftentimes forgotten,” the study’s authors say. Of the 512 known primate species, 92, or 18%, are directly impacted by road and rail infrastructure, the study says, citing data from the IUCN, the global wildlife conservation authority. Aside from the more obvious threat from vehicle impacts, roads and railways also pose what’s known as a “barrier effect,” inhibiting or impeding the mobility of wildlife through their habitat. This is especially the case for species that move through the treetops. The presence of transportation infrastructure has also been shown to lead to increased deforestation and human occupation of previously inaccessible areas, with all the attendant threats: the spread of disease, hunting, wildlife…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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