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Roads are the essential building blocks of economic development. Without roads, there can be no hydro projects, no electricity or telephone towers, and limited access to health care institutions and quality education. But what are the environmental, socioeconomic, and sociocultural impacts of expanding rural road networks?
In a Chats in the Stacks book talk at Mann Library on September 7, 2017, Robert E. Beazley and James P. Lassoie present the findings of fieldwork in remote mountain areas of the Nepalese Himalaya to highlight the impact of recent road development on the environment, the economy, and local cultural practices in the region. While road construction can have important economic value for mountain communities, factors of geology, environment and political economy specific to the country pose particular challenges and obstacles to realizing these benefits.
Robert Beazley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University. As a Master’s student, Robert trekked 18,000 feet into the Nepalese Himalaya to observe how rural mountain communities survive in difficult environments. He has since returned to Nepal’s Rasuwa district as a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Dissertation Abroad Fellow to investigate gendered mobility and borderland infrastructure.James P. Lassoie is a Professor in the Department of Natural Resources and an International Professor of Conservation in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University. Trained as a forest ecologist, since joining the Cornell faculty and extension community in 1976 Prof. Lassoie has been closely involved in community-based conservation science and management in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. He is the current Director of Graduate Studies for the Field of Global Development at Cornell, and also holds a professor appointment in the State Key Laboratory of Seedling Bioengineering at the Ningxia Forest Institute in Yinchuan, Ningxia.