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The ATIBT/FAO publication "Road Infrastructures in Tropical Forests: Road to Development or Road to Destruction?" was initiated by ATIBT in November 1997 in order to collect and assemble opinions, ideas and proposals from representatives of various concerned parties; political decision-makers, scientists, professionals and ecologists. Their opinions are exposed in this special issue.

The objective of this publication is to draw the attention of the reader to the role of forest roads and the importance they play in the social and economic development of tropical forest countries and to the danger, which forest roads can present for the environmentally sound management of forest ecosystems.

It is hoped that this publication will be a useful contribution for all those, who are interested in the discussion on environmentally sound forest harvesting and engineering, which is a precondition of sustainable forest management.

We strongly believe that the destructive elements of road construction in tropical forests could be reduced considerably by applying an integrated road planning approach and advanced design and construction techniques leading to "Road to Development" and not to "Road to Destruction".

We wish to acknowledge the valuable work of the contributing authors and the support given by the staff members of ATIBT and the Forest Harvesting, Trade and Marketing Branch of FAO.

P. Gardino



J.J. Landrot

Secretary General


W. Killmann


Forest Products Division, FAO

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