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Project-Roads in a RainforestMon, January 13Owen JohnsonHow long does it take to build a little more than 30,000 miles of new roads through therain forest? A new study finds that, in the Brazilian Amazon, such development can happen injust three years.While roads cover only a tiny fraction of the total land surface of South America's largestnation, their effect on local ecosystems particularly rain forests may be huge. In an attempt tobetter understand road-building's effect on the Amazon, researchers from Imperial CollegeLondon used road maps and satellite images to track the recent development of the Amazon roadnetwork. The team's report, which was published this month in the journal RegionalEnvironmental Change, concluded that approximately 10,000 miles of roads were built everyyear in Brazil between 2004 and 2007. Not surprisingly, road networks were found to spread themost quickly in newly settled areas, as well as in areas experiencing renewed economic growth.