Human Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 6, pp 909–915 | Cite as

Not Everyone Wants Roads: Assessing Indigenous People’s Support for Roads in a Globally Important Tiger Conservation Landscape

  • Gopalasamy Reuben ClementsEmail author
  • Sheema Abdul Aziz
  • Ramy Bulan
  • Xingli Giam
  • Joan Bentrupperbaumer
  • Miriam Goosem
  • Susan Laurance
  • William F. Laurance


Road development in the tropics is fraught with economic, socio-political, and environmental risks (Alamgir et al.2017). Roads have helped alleviate rural poverty to some extent (Jones 2006), but have also caused tremendous collateral environmental damage (e.g., Singleton et al.2004). In Southeast Asia, for example, roads have been shown to have detrimental environmental impacts on threatened biodiversity (Clements et al.2014). It is therefore important that road development projects strive to balance social benefits and environmental costs (Laurance and Arrea 2017).

The social impacts of roads, particularly on indigenous people, have not been adequately quantified. In reality, indigenous people are rarely consulted in the planning phase of road projects despite the fact that they have rights to self-determination and consultation involving the development of indigenous lands and resources, including road construction, according to the United Nations Declaration on the...


Infrastructure Local communities Orang Asli Mammal Malaysia Social impact Southeast Asia 



We thank the Economic Planning Unit (Permit no. 3072) and the Department for Orang Asli Development for allowing us to conduct this research.


We are grateful to funding support from the Australian Research Council, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Rhino and Tiger Conservation Fund, Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Zoological Society Asian Seed Grant, IDEA WILD, James Cook University Graduate Research Scheme, Universiti Malaya Research Grant and James Cook University Postgraduate Research Scholarship.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethics Approval

Ethics approval for interviews was obtained from the James Cook University Ethics Committee (Ethics Approval Application ID H3655).

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10745_2018_29_MOESM1_ESM.docx (63 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 63 kb)
10745_2018_29_MOESM2_ESM.docx (103 kb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 102 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and College of Science and EngineeringJames Cook UniversityCairnsAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesSunway UniversityBandar SunwayMalaysia
  3. 3.RimbaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  4. 4.Center for Malaysian Indigenous Studies and Institute of Biological SciencesUniversiti MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia
  5. 5.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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