A Michigan State University geographer just back from a grueling 700-mile trek along the Transamazon Highway says there are signs Brazil’s environmental protection efforts are taking hold.

The 10-day trip was part of Bob Walker’s continuing research on deforestation in the Amazon. The National Science Foundation is funding the work.

READ MORE: Belle Isle Park Reopens Giant Slide Friday

Walker says he and two fellow scientists confirmed illegal logging and gold-mining operations that threaten further damage to the world’s largest rain forest.

READ MORE: Woodward Dream Cruise Kicks Off This Weekend: What To Know

But Walker says they also found wide areas of undisturbed forest in nationally protected areas and indigenous reserves.

Walker says they also found examples of Brazil’s government halting unofficial road building.

MORE NEWS: Federal Judge Retains Jurisdiction In Lawsuit Over Enbridge Pipeline

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.