Skip to main content

No Planet for Apes? Assessing Global Priority Areas and Species Affected by Linear Infrastructures

Abstract

Approximately 65% of primate species are facing extinction, with threats including the impacts of linear infrastructures such as roads, railways, and power lines, associated with habitat loss and fragmentation, direct and indirect mortality, and changes in animal behavioral patterns. Nevertheless, this is an often-overlooked topic in primatology, and there is limited information on which regions and species are most affected by linear infrastructures. Here, we provide a global assessment of priority areas and primate species for conservation by integrating information from global-scale open-access data sets on the distributional ranges, traits, and threats to primate species and linear infrastructures, together with a systematic literature review and a questionnaire sent to primatological societies. We produced a bivariate map that reflects the patterns of co-occurrence of the Conservation Value and Infrastructure Density. From this map we highlight Primate Mitigation Areas (regions with high Primate Conservation Value and Infrastructure Density), which are areas where infrastructure mitigation should be prioritized; and the Primate Preservation Areas (regions with high Primate Conservation Value and low Infrastructure Density), which represent areas that should be preserved from further infrastructure development. Primate Mitigation Areas primarily include the Atlantic forest of Brazil, the Guinean forests of West Africa, and most of Southeastern Asia, whereas Primate Preservation Areas are found principally in the Amazon and Congo River basins. Our assessment also produced a list of priority species affected by infrastructures, with the great apes and gibbons ranking highest. Global infrastructure projects, especially the Belt and Road Initiative, can seriously affect both priority areas (particularly preservation areas) and the most vulnerable species, due to the massive sprawl of linear infrastructures and associated human activity. Thus, we call for dedicated strategic environmental and social assessments throughout these different economic corridors within the Belt and Road Initiative planning process, prior to developing the different projects. Our assessment can serve as a tool to coordinate management actions and legislation around the world.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. African Natural Resources Center. (2016). Catalyzing growth and development through effective natural resourfces management. African Natural Resources Center, African Development Bank Group.

  2. Alamgir, M., Campbell, M. J., Sloan, S., Goosem, M., Clements, G. R., et al (2017). Economic, socio-political and environmental risks of road development in the tropics. Current Biology, 27, R1130–R1140.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Ali, R., Barra, A. F., Berg, C., Damania, R., Nash, J., & Russ, J. (2015). Highways to success or byways to waste: Estimating the economic benefits of roads in Africa. Washington, DC: The World Bank.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  4. Arcus Foundation, Ed. (2018). Infrastructure development and ape conservation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  5. Ascensão, F. (2020). Environmental risks, challenges and opportunities along the African Belt and Road Initiative. In I. H. Pechlaner, G. Erschbamer, H. Thees, & M. Gruber (Eds.), China and the new Silk Road (pp. 105–120). Cham: Springer International.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Ascensão, F., Fahrig, L., Clevenger, A. P., Corlett, R. T., Jaeger, J. A. G., et al (2018). Environmental challenges for the Belt and Road Initiative. Nature Sustainability, 1, 206–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ascensão, F., Niebuhr, B. B., Moraes, A. M., Alexandre, B. R., Assis, J. C., et al (2019). End of the line for the golden lion tamarin? A single road threatens 30 years of conservation efforts. Conservation Science and Practice, 1, e89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Barber, C. P., Cochrane, M. A., Souza, C. M., & Laurance, W. F. (2014). Roads, deforestation, and the mitigating effect of protected areas in the Amazon. Biological Conservation, 177, 203–209.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Barrington-Leigh, C., & Millard-Ball, A. (2017). The world’s user-generated road map is more than 80% complete. PLoS One, 12, e0180698.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Bezanson, M., & McNamara, A. (2019). The what and where of primate field research may be failing primate conservation. Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues, News, and Reviews, 28, 166–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Biasotto, L. D., & Kindel, A. (2018). Power lines and impacts on biodiversity: A systematic review. Environmental Impact Assessment Review, 71, 110–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Birot, H., Campera, M., Imron, M. A., & Nekaris, K. A. I. (2020). Artificial canopy bridges improve connectivity in fragmented landscapes: The case of Javan slow lorises in an agroforest environment. American Journal of Primatology, 82, e23076.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Borda-de-Água, L., Barrientos, R., Beja, P., & Pereira, H. M. (Eds.) (2017). Railway ecology. Cham: Springer International.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Carvalho, J. S., Graham, B., Rebelo, H., Bocksberger, G., Meyer, C. F. J., et al (2019). A global risk assessment of primates under climate and land use/cover scenarios. Global Change Biology, 25, 3163–3178.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Clauzel, C., Xiqing, D., Gongsheng, W., Giraudoux, P., & Li, L. (2015). Assessing the impact of road developments on connectivity across multiple scales: Application to Yunnan snub-nosed monkey conservation. Biological Conservation, 192, 207–217.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Corrêa, F. M., Chaves, O. M., Printes, R. C., & Romanowski, H. P. (2018). Surviving in the urban-rural interface: Feeding and ranging behavior of brown howlers (Alouatta guariba clamitans) in an urban fragment in southern Brazil. American Journal of Primatology, 80, e22865.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Cunneyworth, P. M. K., & Duke, J. (2020). Vehicle collisions among four species of monkeys between 2000 and 2018 on a suburban road in Diani, Kenya. International Journal of Primatology, 41, 45–60.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. D’Amico, M., Martins, R. C., Álvarez-Martínez, J. M., Porto, M., Barrientos, R., & Moreira, F. (2019). Bird collisions with power lines: Prioritizing species and areas by estimating potential population-level impacts. Diversity and Distributions, 25, 975–982.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. de Lima, R. A. F., Oliveira, A. A., Pitta, G. R., de Gasper, A. L., Vibrans, A. C., et al (2020). The erosion of biodiversity and biomass in the Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot. Nature Communications, 11, 6347.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Duarte, M. H. L., Vecci, M. A., Hirsch, A., & Young, R. J. (2011). Noisy human neighbours affect where urban monkeys live. Biology Letters, 7, 840–842.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Dulac, J. (2013). Global land transport infrastructure requirements: estimating road and railway infrastructure capacity and costs to 2050. pp. 1– 50. Paris, France: International Energy Agency.

  22. Estrada, A., Garber, P. A., Rylands, A. B., Roos, C., Fernandez-Duque, E., et al (2017). Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates: Why primates matter. Science Advances, 3, e1600946.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Estrada, A., Garber, P. A., & Chaudhary, A. (2020). Current and future trends in socio-economic, demographic and governance factors affecting global primate conservation. PeerJ, 8, e9816.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Farhadinia, M. S., Maheshwari, A., Nawaz, M. A., Ambarlı, H., Gritsina, M. A., et al (2019). Belt and Road Initiative may create new supplies for illegal wildlife trade in large carnivores. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3, 1267–1268.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Forman, R., & Alexander, L. E. (1998). Roads and their major ecological effects. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 29, 207–231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Forman, R., Sperling, D., Bissonette, J. A., Clevenger, A. P., Cutshall, C. D., et al (2003). Road ecology: Science and solutions. Washington, DC: Island Press.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Galán-Acedo, C., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Cudney-Valenzuela, S. J., & Fahrig, L. (2019). A global assessment of primate responses to landscape structure. Biological Reviews, 94, 1605–1618.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Grativol, A. D., Ballou, J. D., & Fleischer, R. C. (2001). Microsatellite variation within and among recently fragmented populations of the golden lion tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia). Conservation Genetics, 2, 1–9.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Hess, T., Knox, J., & Daccache, A. (2013). What is the impact of infrastructural investments in roads, electricity and irrigation on agricultural productivity? CEE Review 11-007. Collaboration for Environmental Evidence. http://www.environmentalevidence.org/completed-reviews/what-is-the-impactof-infrastructural-investments-in-roads-electricity-and-irrigation-on-agricultural-productivity. Accessed 04.10.2020

  30. Hetman, M., Kubicka, A. M., Sparks, T. H., & Tryjanowski, P. (2019). Road kills of non-human primates: A global view using a different type of data. Mammal Review, 49, 276–283.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Hickey, J. R., Nackoney, J., Nibbelink, N. P., Blake, S., Bonyenge, A., et al (2013). Human proximity and habitat fragmentation are key drivers of the rangewide bonobo distribution. Biodiversity and Conservation, 22, 3085–3104.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. IUCN. (2019). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (version 6.2). https://www.iucnredlist.org. https://www.iucnredlist.org/en. Accessed 24-09-2020

  33. Junker, J., Petrovan, S. O., Arroyo-Rodríguez, V., Boonratana, R., Byler, D., et al (2020). A severe lack of evidence limits effective conservation of the world’s primates. BioScience, 70, 794–803.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Katsis, L., Cunneyworth, P. M. K., Turner, K. M. E., & Presotto, A. (2018). Spatial patterns of primate electrocutions in Diani, Kenya. International Journal of Primatology, 39, 493–510.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Kleinschroth, F., Laporte, N., Laurance, W. F., Goetz, S. J., & Ghazoul, J. (2019). Road expansion and persistence in forests of the Congo Basin. Nature Sustainability, 2, 628–634.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Lahm, S. A., Barnes, R. F. W., Beardsley, K., & Cervinka, P. (1998). A method for censusing the greater white-nosed monkey in northeastern Gabon using the population density gradient in relation to roads. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 14, 629–643.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Laurance, W. F., & Arrea, I. B. (2017). Roads to riches or ruin? Science, 358, 442–444.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Laurance, W. F., & Balmford, A. (2013). A global map for road building. Nature, 495, 308–309.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Laurance, W. F., Cochrane, M. A., Bergen, S., Fearnside, P. M., Delamônica, P., et al (2001). The future of the Brazilian Amazon. Science, 291, 438–439.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  40. Laurance, W. F., Albernaz, A. K. M., Schroth, G., Fearnside, P. M., Bergen, S., et al (2002). Predictors of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Journal of Biogeography, 29, 737–748.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Laurance, W. F., Croes, B. M., Tchignoumba, L., Lahm, S. A., Alonso, A., et al (2006). Impacts of roads and hunting on Central African rainforest mammals. Conservation Biology, 20, 1251–1261.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Laurance, W. F., Goosem, M., & Laurance, S. G. W. (2009). Impacts of roads and linear clearings on tropical forests. Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 24, 659–669.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Laurance, W. F., Sloan, S., Weng, L., & Sayer, J. A. (2015). Estimating the environmental costs of Africa’s massive “development corridors”. Current Biology, 25, 3202–3208.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Linden, B., Foord, S., Horta-Lacueva, Q. J. B., & Taylor, P. J. (2020). Bridging the gap: How to design canopy bridges for arboreal guenons to mitigate road collisions. Biological Conservation, 246, 108560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Lokschin, L. X., Rodrigo, C. P., Cabral, J. N. H., & Buss, G. (2007). Power lines and howler monkey conservation in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Neotropical Primates, 14, 76–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Malhi, Y., Gardner, T. A., Goldsmith, G. R., Silman, M. R., & Zelazowski, P. (2014). Tropical forests in the Anthropocene. Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 39, 125–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Maxwell, S. L., Fuller, R. A., Brooks, T. M., & Watson, J. E. M. (2016). Biodiversity: The ravages of guns, nets and bulldozers. Nature, 536, 143.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Meijer, J. R., Huijbregts, M. A. J., Schotten, K. C. G. J., & Schipper, A. M. (2018). Global patterns of current and future road infrastructure. Environmental Research Letters, 13, 064006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Moraes, A. M., Ruiz-Miranda, C. R., Galetti Jr., P. M., Niebuhr, B. B., & Alexandre, B. R. (2018). Landscape resistance influences effective dispersal of endangered golden lion tamarins within the Atlantic Forest. Biological Conservation, 224, 178–187.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Nater, A., Mattle-Greminger, M. P., Nurcahyo, A., Nowak, M. G., de Manuel, M., et al (2017). Morphometric, behavioral, and genomic evidence for a new orangutan species. Current Biology, 27, 3487–3498.e10.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Ng, L. S., Campos-Arceiz, A., Sloan, S., Hughes, A. C., Tfiang, D. C. F., et al (2020). The scale of biodiversity impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative in Southeast Asia. Biological Conservation, 248, 108691.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Padgham, M., Lovelace, R., Salmon, M., & Rudis, B. (2017). osmdata. The Journal of Open Source Software, 2, 305.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Ribeiro, M. C., Metzger, J. P., Martensen, A. C., Ponzoni, F. J., & Hirota, M. M. (2009). The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: How much is left, and how is the remaining forest distributed? Implications for conservation. Biological Conservation, 142, 1141–1153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Singh, M. (2019). Management of forest-dwelling and urban species: Case studies of the lion-tailed macaque (Macaca silenus) and the bonnet macaque (M. radiata). International Journal of Primatology, 40, 613–629.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Sloan, S., Supriatna, J., Campbell, M. J., Alamgir, M., & Laurance, W. F. (2018). Newly discovered orangutan species requires urgent habitat protection. Current Biology, 28, R650–R651.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Suárez, E., Zapata-Ríos, G., Utreras, V., Strindberg, S., & Vargas, J. (2013). Controlling access to oil roads protects forest cover, but not wildlife communities: A case study from the rainforest of Yasuní Biosphere Reserve (Ecuador). Animal Conservation, 16, 265–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Tablado, Z., & D’Amico, M. (2017). Impacts of terrestrial animal tourism. In D. T. Blumstein, B. Geffroy, D. S. M. Samia, & E. Bessa (Eds.), Ecotourism’s promise and peril: A biological evaluation (pp. 97–115). Cham: Springer International.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  58. Taylor, C. D., Schulz, K. J., Doebrich, J. L., Orris, G., Denning, P., & Kirschbaum, M. J. (2009). Geology and nonfuel Mineral Deposits of Africa and the Middle East. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005–1294-E, 246 p.

  59. Ukizintambara, T., & Thébaud, C. (2004). Assessing extinction risk in Cercopithecus monkeys. In M. E. Glenn & M. Cords (Eds.), The guenons: Diversity and adaptation in African monkeys, Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects (pp. 393–409). New York: Springer.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  60. Van der Ree, R., Smith, D. J., & Grilo, C. (2015). Handbook of road ecology. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Vanthomme, H., Kolowski, J., Korte, L., & Alonso, A. (2013). Distribution of a community of mammals in relation to roads and other human disturbances in Gabon, Central Africa. Conservation Biology, 27, 281–291.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Visintin, C., van der Ree, R., & McCarthy, M. A. (2016). A simple framework for a complex problem? Predicting wildlife–vehicle collisions. Ecology and Evolution, 6, 6409–6421.

    PubMed  PubMed Central  Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Waterman, J. O., Campbell, L. A. D., Maréchal, L., Pilot, M., & Majolo, B. (2020). Effect of human activity on habitat selection in the endangered Barbary macaque. Animal Conservation, 23, 373–385.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Winemiller, K. O., McIntyre, P. B., Castello, L., Fluet-Chouinard, E., & Giarrizzo, T. (2016). Balancing hydropower and biodiversity in the Amazon, Congo, and Mekong. Science, 351, 128–129.

    CAS  PubMed  Article  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  65. Zhao, X., Ren, B., Li, D., Garber, P. A., Zhu, P., et al (2019). Climate change, grazing, and collecting accelerate habitat contraction in an endangered primate. Biological Conservation, 231, 88–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

Thanks to all primatological societies that shared this questionnaire with their membership, including the African Primatological Society, American Society of Primatologists, Asociación de Primatología Argentina, Asociación Mexicana de Primatología, Asociación Primatológica Colombiana, Asociación Primatológica Española, Associação Portuguesa de Primatologia, Associazione Primatologi Italiani , Australasian Primate Society, China Primate Society, Gesellschaft für Primatologie, Grupo de Estudio de Primates del Ecuador, International Primatological Society, Lemur Conservation Network, Malaysian Primatological Society, Primate Ecology and Genetics Group – The South African Primatology Association, Primate Society of Great Britain, Primate Society of Japan, Red Boliviana de Primatología, SE Asian Primatological Association (SeAPA), Sociedad Latinoamericana de Primatología (SLAPrim), Sociedade Brasileira de Primatologia (SBPr), Société Francophone de Primatologie (SFDP), and Wildlife Conservation Socienty of Congo. We further want to thank the researchers who agreed to answer our questionnaire, including Allison Lau, Andrea, Andrea, Audrey Maille, Bernardo Urbani, Braulio Pinacho Guendulain, Catarina Casanova, Chloë India Wright, Cristina Rogado, Cynthia Thompson, Daniel Vilasboas Slomp, Darby Proctor, Ekole Nelson Betobe, Elaine Christina Oliveira do Carmo, Eldianne Moreira de Lima, Eloy Revilla, Erick Allan dos Santos Silva, Fabiano Rodrigues de Melo, Fabrizio Dell'Anna, Faical Boutlib, Fernanda Abra, Fominka T. Nestoral, Fotang Chefor, Gerson Buss, Giada Cordoni, Giovanni Di Panfilo, Gregorio Guzzo, Isa Aleixo-Pais, James Bukie, Jean-Pascal Guery, Jerry Nkenku, Juan Carlos Ordóñez, Juan Carlos Ordóñez, Julie Teichroeb, Júlio César Bicca-Marques, Karen Strier, Keren Klass, Laura Praill, Lavinia Germani, luca sineo, Marc Ancrenaz, Marcelo Derzi Vidal, Marco Ciannavei, Mariane Kaizer, Mark Harrison, Miquel Llorente, Monica Carosi, Nadine Ruppert, Natalie Uomini, Partha Sarathi Mishra, Paul A. Garber, Pauline Zablocki-Thomas, Raymond Vagell, Rebecca Smith, Romina Pavé, Rui M. M. Sá, Sabina Koirala, Samara de Albuquerque Teixeira, Saulo M. Silvestre, Sebastián O. Montilla, Shasta E. Webb, Sheheer T. Ali, Smitha D. Gnanaolivu, Susan Lappan, Susan M Cheyne, Tania Minhós, Tanvir Ahmed, Tiago Falótico, Tremaine Gregory, Valerie A.M. Schoof, Vicente Guadalix Carreras. FA and MD were funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT, CEECIND/03265/2017 and CEECIND/03798/2017, respectively). RB received a postdoctoral grant from Comunidad de Madrid (2018T1/AMB10374). We thank Paul A. Garber and two anonymous reviewer for reviewing and commenting on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Contributions

FA, MD'A, and RB conceived and designed this study, analyzed the data, and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Fernando Ascensão.

Additional information

Handling Editor: Joanna Setchell.

Supplementary Information

ESM 1

(DOCX 930 kb)

ESM 2

(XLSX 23 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ascensão, F., D’Amico, M. & Barrientos, R. No Planet for Apes? Assessing Global Priority Areas and Species Affected by Linear Infrastructures. Int J Primatol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10764-021-00207-5

Download citation

Keywords

  • Behavioral changes
  • Belt and Road Initiative
  • Habitat loss and fragmentation
  • Primates
  • Transportation infrastructures