Remote sensing reveals impact of logging road expansion in Congo Basin

Nadine Laporte, research professor in the School of Forestry, and Scott Goetz, professor in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems, are co-authors of a paper published in Nature Sustainability. “Road expansion and persistence in forests of the Congo Basin” studies the progressive expansion of logging roads across the Congo Basin. By comparing older and newer roads of different types, whether primary, secondary or logging roads derived from Landsat image time series data, the scientists show why the dramatic expansion is causing broad concern for forest ecosystems, carbon storage and wildlife vulnerable to subsistence hunting—and how decommissioning roads after logging could play a crucial role in reducing the negative impacts of timber extraction on tropical forest ecosystems.