The western Amazon is one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. It also contains large reserves of oil and gas, many of which are currently untapped. The extraction of these resources would involve direct impacts that include deforestation for construction of roads, drilling platforms and pipelines, contamination from oil spills and wastewater discharge.
Oil spills in this region have been common, and from 1972-1993, more than 30 billion gallons had been spilled. Increased accessibility to previously remote areas by way of new oil roads and pipeline routes is one of the primary causes of habitat fragmentation and facilitates a number of indirect effects including increased logging, hunting and deforestation. This in turn triggers a cascade of other impacts. For instance, each kilometre of road constructed means 4-24 km2 of deforestation from colonisation and related agricultural development.