There's an interesting piece in today's IHT by Lydia Polgreen. The title of the article is "Profiteers turn to an African Eden". I have tried to look it up on the IHT website and the NY Times but no luck - perhaps it will be there tomorrow. The article highlights the role of extractive industries (e.g. mining, logging and oil) in conservation. While it makes use of Gabon as a recent example to underline the effect of infrastructure expansion road construction by companies working in remote places is nothing new. Oil companies in Brazil and Ecuador, for example, have been doing so for decades. The newly built roads usually provide access to formerly inaccessible areas. Their construction is usually followed by rural migrants who claim frontier land and settle down to farm, often with dire consequences for the environment. There's a very good article by Tom Rudel in the scientific journal Human Ecology. It makes for an interesting read if you want to know more about the subject.
Road construction in the Province of Orellana, Ecuador (2006)