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Individual study: Controlling access to oil roads protects forest cover, but not wildlife communities: a case study from the rainforest of Yasuní Biosphere Reserve (Ecuador)

Published source details

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


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Exclude or limit number of visitors to reserves or protected areas Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

A site comparison study in 2005–2006 of forest at three sites in Ecuador (Suárez et al. 2013) found that a road with restricted access had a higher population of medium-sized and large mammals relative to a road with unrestricted access. Differences between sites were not tested for statistical significance. Primates, ungulates and large rodents were more abundant along the restricted access road (98 animals/km2) than they were along the unrestricted access road (48 animals/km2). However, there were more still at an undisturbed site (233 animals/km2). A 142-km-long oil exploration road was constructed in 1992. Road access for outsiders was restricted (details not provided), though the area was occupied by indigenous Waorani people, who settled and hunted along the road. At a different site, an oil exploration road, constructed in 1972, attracted colonists, leading to 4% annual forest loss in its vicinity. A third, undisturbed site was studied. Sites were ≤89 km apart. Mammals >1 kg were surveyed using distance sampling techniques along six 2-km transects at each site, in the morning and evening on eight occasions from April 2005 to July 2006.

(Summarised by Nick Littlewood)