Protection of Roadfree areas

Save Earth's
last wild places

Road building threatens our forests, natural habitats and the people who depend on them.

With your help, we can keep wilderness RoadFree.

Watch the film

© Kemal Jufri / © Greenpeace
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It takes just one road to destroy a forest

95% of forest loss occurs within 50 km of a road.

From the Amazon to Indonesian and Congo Basin forests, roads are penetrating deep into the wilderness.

Roads fragment natural habitats, degrade forest ecosystems, and put local communities and wildlife at risk.

How can I help?

Join the RoadFree campaign


Keep it RoadFree: our initiatives

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.

Check Road Alert

© Karla Gachet / Panos / Greenpeace
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Road Alert

Road Alert reports on destructive roadbuilding projects cutting through intact forests worldwide, and gathers individuals and groups acting to keep these wild places road free. Learn from their stories.

RoadFree news

A collection of updates from the RoadFree campaign as well as a selection of global news articles covering roadbuilding stories in the context of forest protection.

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    Will Brazil’s Amazon “nationalization” lead to more protection or exploitation?

    May 15 2015

    A 2013 draft of a law that recognize the sovereignty of Brazil over the Amazon’s natural resources is being brought back to life in the Brazilian Parliament. Should the law be passed, companies wanting to operate in the area would require approval from the new state entity in return for shares of the proceeds. Will this mean more respect for indigenous peoples rights and protection of the Amazon or a more systematic economic exploitation of intact forest?

    Read a related article on the Independent
  • Yevgenia Chirikova

    RoadFree supports Yevgenia Chirikova

    April 20 2015

    Yevgenia Chirikova is a strong woman trying to keeping Khimki primary forest free of the M11 highway. She was forced to flee Russia to save her own life and the life of her family. We wish her strength. We will keep supporting her and do our best to stop M11 and keep Khimki forest Roadfree.

    Read a related article on the Guardian
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    Road proliferation in the Peruvian amazon detected by satellite

    April 20 2015

    The rapid proliferation of two new road networks in the northern Peruvian Amazon (Department of Loreto) has been detected by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP). Most notably, it highlights the construction of nearly 150 km of new roads, possibly illegal logging roads, through mostly primary forest between 2013 and 2014. One of the roads is within the buffer zone of the Cordillera Azul National Park.

    Read the full report on MAAP
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    Last policy options to save our Primary Forests

    March 01 2015

    RoadFree together with IntAct - a broad coalition of scientists and NGO's, published a new report on how we can protect our last primary forests: (1) recognize primary forests as a matter of global concern within international negotiations; (2) incorporate primary forests into environmental accounting; (3) prioritize the principle of avoided loss; and (4) universally accept the important role of indigenous and community conserved areas.

    Read the full report
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    Two highways have cut six wildlife corridors in India

    February 17 2015

    Among all the projects going through forests, highways seem to be the single biggest threat to tiger corridors in the Central Indian landscape, home to some 688 tigers or one-fifth of population in the wild. Two widened highways - NH6 & NH7 - alone have destroyed at least six tiger corridors. More highways are being planned, ignoring wildlife mitigation measures.

    Read the full article on the Times of India

    Peru planning highway through most biodiverse place on earth

    February 12 2015

    Manu park, is a Unesco biosphere reserve in the south-east Peruvian Amazon. According to Unesco the biodiversity there “exceeds that of any other place on earth”. All this are threaten by the "Jungle Highway"

    Read a related article on the Guardian
  • climate-change-4210766.jpg

    Climate negotiations: Small progress in Lima overloads Paris

    December 14 2014

    RoadFree welcomes the small progress achieved in this year's climate negotiations in Lima, Peru. We stress that given the small pace of progress it will be very difficult to reach a new climate agreement next year in Paris COP21. Only through massive citizen mobilization may this agreement stand a chance. We reiterate that global warming beyond 2°C will mean the destruction of rainforest and their crucial for life on earth ecosystem services.

    Read more
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    New push for a moratorium on industrial actvities within Primary Forests

    November 18 2014

    Based on a IntAct and RoadFree report, the Society for Conservation Biology asks for a moratorium on industrial activities within primary forests

    Read the full declaration
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    Inta Eco Network Europe - Keep it Road Free

    September 18 2014

    The participants of the IENE 2014 international conference. call for explicit consideration of roadlessness as a conservation target in national and European policy and legislation.

    Read the full declaration
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    New Intact Forest Landscapes map

    September 04 2014

    The new Intact Forest Landscapes map is out. Three countries - Canada, Russia and Brazil - alone contain 65% of the world's entire IFL area and 56% of the total IFL degradation area 2000-2013. The highest proportion of IFL degradation was found in South-East and Insular Asia countries. The countries with the highest IFL degradation in both absolute terms (area) and relative terms (percentage) are Paraguay, Australia, Bolivia, Myanmar, Gabon, Cameroon, and Malaysia.

    Learn more
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    Who Will Save the Last Primary Forests on Earth?

    August 22 2014

    It’s now or never if the world’s surviving primary forests are to be saved. Will the international community act or continue to turn a blind eye to our planet’s key life support systems?

    Read the full article on the National Geographic
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    95% of all deforestation occurres within 5.5 km of roads

    July 06 2014

    The effects of the rapidly growing network of illegal or unofficial roads in the Amazon are usually not considered. This new study found that deforestation was much higher near roads and rivers than elsewhere in the Amazon; Nearly 95% of all deforestation occurred within 5.5 km of roads or 1 km of rivers.

    Read the full article on Elsevier
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    When roads produce isolation

    May 19 2014

    At first, logging companies build roads to access concessions. They bring equipment, goods and villagers start using these access roads. But what happens once the logging companies are gone? In Sarawak forest, Malaysia, shorty after logging operations ceased, "the trip [to the next village] used to take four hours; today it takes nine".

    Read more in Inside Story:
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    Much more attention needs to be given to forest degradation

    April 01 2014

    Mongabay continues with its series of interviews and asks forest experts what is the next big idea in forest conservation. For Philip Fearnside, one of the world´s most-cited scientist in the area of sustainable development: "Much more attention needs to be given to forest degradation, as by logging, fires and edge effects. Almost everyone has been concentrating on outright deforestation instead."

    Read full interview on Mongabay
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    Call To Keep Intact Forests Free Of Roads

    March 20 2014

    BRUSSELS, 20 March 2014 – On the eve of the 2nd International Day of Forests on Friday, March 21st, scientists join MEP Kriton Arsenis in calling for an urgent response to the threats from road development to the world’s last intact primary forests.

    Read the full press release in our press section
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    Drug trafficking opens roads to deforestation

    February 06 2014

    We already know that there’s a connection between coca growing and deforestation. But now, a new article published in Science explains how North-America's militarised drug policies have lead to drug traffickers moving deeper into Central and South American forests, where clandestine roadbuilding and money laundering generates further impacts to both the forest and its inhabitants.

    Read more on Science Daily

    Brazil and the Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, IIRSA

    January 21 2014

    The more economies depend on trade, the more roads are built and threathen natural habitats. The Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America (IIRSA), in which Brazil is major player, is no exemption.

    Read more
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    The destructive effects of infrastructure

    January 14 2014

    Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant reports on the impact that roads and infrastructure have on the environment and on local people living nearby. The writer of this thorough article also touches upon ways to develop better methods for spatial planning and alternatives to roads (article in Dutch).

    Read more
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    Violent clashes between communities living on Trans-Amazonica highway (BR230)

    January 13 2014

    At 4,000km long, the so-called "road to progress” has been source of conflict between the communities living along it since it was built in the early 70s. Recently, violent clashes have broken out between Teharim native Indians and non-indigenous settlers. The turmoil is fuelled by the lack of compensation for the appropriation of the Tenharim land in order to construct the road.

    Read more on The Independent
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    Concerns over infrastructure plans to link South American countries

    December 26 2013

    The planned US$130-billion network of infrastructure projects, known as IIRSA, Initiative for the Integration of the Regional Infrastructure of South America, aimed to link South America's economies has so far failed to respect indigenous peoples and environmental laws.

    Read more on The Guardian
  • ClimateConference-300x200.jpg

    UNEarth talks about RoadFree

    December 20 2013

    The RoadFree Initiative offers a path to protect forests, reduce emissions, and monitor REDD+ progress

    Read more on UNEarth news
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    The implications of the REDD+ package for roadfree forests

    December 18 2013

    The rules governing UN REDD+ programme were agreed at last month’s UN climate talks in Warsaw. We have identified several opportunities for the future of roadfree forests in the agreed REDD+ package.

    Read more
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    Roads being secretly built at the core of Yasuni National Park in Ecuador

    December 16 2013

    Images taken by National Geographic photographers while reporting on the stunning biodiversity in Yasuni National Park, Ecuador, show that oil companies have been secretly building roads at the heart of the park.

    Read more on Mongabay
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    Symposium on the Impacts of roads and infrastructure on ecosystems, a crisis for global biodiversity

    December 12 2013

    December 16: RoadFree Initiative joins top experts on road-building impacts during this one day symposium in Utrecht (The Netherlands). Library Utrecht University, Boothzaal, Heidelberglaan 3.

    Read more
  • COP19_roadless3.jpg

    RoadFree COP 19 side event: Get REDD+ Right by Keeping Forests Free of Roads

    November 19 2013

    This COP19 side event aims at putting the protection of roadfree areas at the forefront of international efforts to halt deforestation. The presentations will focus on recent findings related to roadbuilding impacts on deforestation and forest degradation...

    read more on our press section
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    Brazil tribe plagued by one of the highest suicide rates in the world

    November 04 2013

    Land losses blamed as study shows Guarani-Kaiowá are 34 times more likely to kill themselves than Brazil's national average.

    Read more on the Guardian
  • Roads-fishbone-deforestation-Brazil-cropped.jpg

    50,000 km of roads built across Brazilian Amazon in 3 years

    October 29 2013

    Roads are rapidly expanding across the Brazilian Amazon opening up once remote rainforests to loggers, miners, ranchers, farmers, and land speculators, finds a new study published in the journal Regional Environmental.

    Read more on Mongabay
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    European Parliament backs the protection of roadfree areas

    October 23 2013

    The European Parliament agrees to raise the issue of roadbuilding in intact forests at the UN Climate Change Conference to be held next month in Warsaw (Poland); it calls on parties to use the existence of roads in forest areas as an early negative performance indicator of REDD+ projects, and to prioritise the allocation of REDD+ funds towards road free forests...

    Read the full press release in our press section
  • Khimki_Forest_Map..png

    M11 highway between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg: bribery allegations

    October 03 2013

    France looks into bribery allegations against Vinci Russian unit

    Read more on Reuters
  • WILD10-Logo-FINAL-Horizontal_web.jpg

    RoadFree at WILD10 World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca

    October 02 2013

    On October 6th and 7th, RoadFree will be present at the 10th World Wilderness Congress in Salamanca to celebrate and debate on the world's wildernesses

    Read more
  • GP02IRC_elephant.jpg

    Report links rates in forest fragmentation to speed of mammal extinction

    September 26 2013

    A man-made reservoir in Thailand has given biologists the opportunity to measure the speed of mammal extinctions and it happens fast!

    Read more on New York Times

Who we are

RoadFree aims to halt the expansion of roads into Earth's last wild places.

RoadFree was initiated in 2012 by the environmentalist Kriton Arsenis, who was then the European Parliament's rapporteur on forest protection. It functions as a platform to facilitate synergies between citizen movements, NGOs and institutions who have chosen cost-efficient solutions to protect the environment.

We invite you to be a part of the effort.

With thanks to…

  • Google
  • Greenpeace
  • Society for Conservation Biology
  • Conservation International