Public Events

31 Mar 2017

Optimizing Infrastructure in the Asia-Pacific Region


This talk recorded on Fri 31 March 2017, 6pm at University of Nottingham Kuala Lumpur Teaching Centre, Level 2, Chulan Tower, Number 3 Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.

Prof. William F. Laurance (Director of CTESS, James Cook University & ALERT)

William Laurance is a Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia.  He joined JCU in 2009 after having spent 14 years as a Senior Staff Scientist with the Smithsonian Institution, based in Brazil and Panama. Professor Laurance also holds the Prince Bernhard Chair in International Nature Conservation at Utrecht University, Netherlands, and is a research associate at the Smithsonian and Harvard University. At James Cook University, Laurance is director of the Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, an active interdisciplinary research group with about one hundred investigators working in more than 40 tropical nations.  He also founded and directs ALERT—the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers—a scientific organization that advances environmental sustainability and reaches around 500,000 informed readers worldwide each week.

Seminar Summary

Developing nations need better roads and transportation infrastructure to create economic opportunities and social development. However, if inadequately planned and constructed, roads can create an array of economic, social, environmental and political problems. Effectively designing and prioritizing roads is essential because at least 25 million kilometers of new roads are expected by 2050—enough to encircle the Earth more than 600 times. About 90% of these new roads will be constructed in developing nations that sustain exceptional biodiversity and ecosystem services. I will highlight ongoing efforts to maximize the social and economic benefits of new roads and transportation infrastructure while minimizing their environmental costs and socio-political and economic risks, focusing on the Asia-Pacific nations of Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.