Sadia E. Ahmed, Robert M. Ewers, and Matthew J. Smith
There is burgeoning interest in predicting road development because of the wide ranging important socio-economic and environmental issues that roads present, including the close links between road development, deforestation, and biodiversity loss. This is especially the case in developing nations, which are high in natural resources, where road development is rapid and often not centrally managed. Characterisation of large scale spatio-temporal patterns in road network development has been greatly overlooked to date. Here we characterise the spatio-temporal dynamics of road density across the Brazilian Amazon. We also assess the relative contributions of local versus neighbourhood effects for temporal changes in road density at regional scales. To achieve this we use a combination of statistical analyses and model-data fusion techniques inspired by studies of spatio-temporal dynamics of populations in ecology and epidemiology. Our results imply that the emergent development can be approximated by local growth that is logistic through time and directional dispersal. We infer the current rates and dominant direction of development, estimating that roads are developing at a rate of 55km per year.
In Environmental Conservation