The Green and the Grey: roadless areas and future mobility
Convened by: Pierre Ibisch, Stefan Kreft, Nuria Selva
In this World Cafe workshop, we want to take ask participants to take realistic look into the future of mobility.
Over the next four decades, global passenger and freight travel is expected to double over current levels (Dulac 2013). More than 90% of the world's land is less than 48 hours of ground-based travel from the nearest city now (Williams 2009). However, by 2050, at least 25 million additional km of new roads and 335 thousand km of rail are anticipated (Dulac 2013).
Using vehicles comes at an immense ecological cost for ecosystems, with roads, road construction and traffic arguably being among the heaviest threats to ecosystems, including people and their wellbeing. Root causes to this threat are political decisions on global and national levels, for example, regarding resource use, but also technological innovations with the potential to ‘change the game’ (Laurance et al. 2015). In contrast, the roadless areas remaining on Earth are strongholds of resilient ecosystems (Ibisch et al. 2016). Preventing their fragmentation by roads and destruction by subsequent contagious development is of paramount importance for planetary wellbeing.
We want to include insights from relevant sectors such as automobile and railway technology, land-use technology, traffic infrastructure and traffic policy-makers etc. The higher goal is to initiate a dialogue with knowledge holders that conservationists seldom come into contact with. Ultimately, this workshop is designed to help conservationists start preparing proactive strategies instead of being caught by surprise.
To this end, the workshop will be guided by the following questions:
1. What geopolitical directions, economical pressures and technological innovations may shape future mobility?
2. What aspects of future mobility may turn into risks for the conservation of the last remaining roadless areas?
3. How may future mobility beneficial for roadless areas conservation look like? This is an activity of SCB’s trans-sectional Roadless Initiative (http://conbio.org/policy/global-policy-initiatives/roadless-areas-and-biodiversity, http://roadless.online).
Dulac J. 2013. Global land transport infrastructure requirements. Estimating road and railway infrastructure capacity and costs to 2050. International Energy Agency, France.
Williams C. 2009. Where’s the remotest place on Earth? New Scientist 2704: 40-43.
Ibisch P.L., Hoffmann M.T., Kreft S., Pe’er G., Kati V., Biber-Freudenberger L., DellaSala D.A., Vale M.M., Hobson P.R., Selva N. 2016. A global map of roadless areas and their conservation status. Science 354: 1423-1427.
Laurance W.F., Peletier-Jellema A, Geenen B., Koster H., Verwej P., Van Dijck P., Lovejoy T.E., Schleicher J., Van Kuijk M. 2015. Reducing the global environmental impacts of rapid infrastructure expansion. Current Biology 25: R255–R268.