From the Field: Amazon Forever
The Amazon. Two simple words are enough to conjure images of massive rainforests, otherworldly species, indigenous peoples, and the world’s most iconic river.
WWF has been working to protect this life-giving region for more than four decades. As the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon is essential to global climate function. With your support, WWF has worked with governments, partners, and local communities to achieve critical conservation results across the region through several bold, large-scale programs.
Together with the Brazilian government, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, World Bank/Global Environment Facility and government of Germany, WWF launched the Amazon Region Protected Areas project just over a decade ago. This effort has already become the largest conservation project in the world, protecting 62 million acres of the Brazilian Amazon to date. But this is just the beginning. The ultimate goal of this highly successful public-private partnership is to permanently protect 150 million acres—an area three times the size of all U.S. National Parks combined. We are now implementing innovative strategies to secure permanent financing for these protected areas.
Another significant initiative has aimed at safeguarding the southwestern headwaters of the Amazon Basin by preserving large expanses of forest and freshwater habitats in protected areas in Bolivia, Brazil and Peru. This protection now covers forests around some of the Amazon’s major tributaries—the Yurua, Purus and Madeira rivers—and encompass some of the richest forest communities on Earth.
A milestone was the establishment of the 6.7 million-acre Alto Purus National Park and Communal Reserve in Peru. This is one of the largest combined indigenous reserves and protected areas in the world—an area the size of Massachusetts—and has been hailed as a major step in protecting biodiversity while respecting the rights of indigenous communities.
With your support, WWF is committed to protecting the Amazon. Through innovative efforts, we will continue to address threats of poor infrastructure development, gold mining and other resource extraction, clearing of land for agriculture and cattle ranching, and climate change. And we will build on the successes of these programs to ensure that the Amazon can always fulfill its function in shaping the natural integrity of our planet.
You can read more about this work in the July issue of Focus.