The Great Western Woodlands, the largest temperate woodland in the world, is also the site of mining activity and grazing activities. Intersecting the woodland is a substantial network of roads and tracks to service these activities. Linear infrastructure is often viewed as insubstantial, but cumulatively it can significantly impact the natural environment and occupy a much larger footprint than the main infrastructure (e.g. the mining pits).
They found that 67% of the total direct development footprint was linear infrastructure, which was predominantly unmapped and had to be manually detected from aerial imagery.
Whilst the direct development footprint was 690 km2 of the Great Western Woodlands area (160, 000 km2), edge effects were very high due to the significant linear infrastructure, and added another 4000 - 55, 000 km2 to the development footprint.
Raiter KG, SM Prober, RJ Hobbs & HP Possingham (2017). Lines in the sand: quantifying the cumulative development footprint in the world’s largest remaining temperate woodland. Landscape Ecology.