COP28: Takeaways for the Amazon

This year’s COP28 (United Nations Climate Change Conference), held in Dubai from November 30th to December 12th, brought together more than 190 governments to discuss global climate action. One of our board members, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal who is WWF’s Global Climate and Energy Lead and COP20 President, attended COP28, and noted that this year’s Conference truly showed how nature is the heart of the climate debate. Additionally, numerous conversations at roundtables centered around the planning and development of an integral process to kickstart climate change mitigation efforts.

From what Manuel gathered from the many climate action discussions, a surprising number of countries expressed their concern for conservation and, specifically, highlighted the importance of tackling environmental crimes such as illegal deforestation via nature-based solutions. He explained that nature-based solutions are designed to work with natural processes rather than against them to address threats and challenges to the environment. They aim to utilize and enhance the natural functions of ecosystems, as opposed to previous engineering-based solutions. This problem-solving approach emphasizes the importance of multiple benefits such as mitigating climate change, conserving biodiversity and ecosystems, and overall well-being for nature and humanity.

Additionally, multiple countries pledged $700 million to the Loss and Damage Fund aiming to help develop an action plan by assisting vulnerable countries in coping with and recovering from the impacts of climate change. However, this amount falls far short of the estimated $400 billion in losses faced by developing countries each year.

As we take a look at how these topics affect the Amazon, Manuel further elaborated on the importance of collaboration between Amazonian countries to form an agenda that will detail a long-term strategy concerning economic processes, Indigenous land rights, ecological integrity, and overall practices and standards for taking action on the ground. Furthermore, he noted that when it comes to climate action, it is important to emphasize that this is largely an economic process and to fulfill certain goals and standards, each country must contribute and accomplish its own tasks, such as updating and reviewing their strategy processes by 2025. He continued to explain that many South American countries are still in the process of developing their own long-term strategy and action plans, which are key elements that must be thoroughly progressed before creating a nationwide agenda. 

Moreover, Manuel continued to highlight that many South American countries are seeing significant social progress concerning the importance of Indigenous land rights, food security, wildlife conservation, and nature-positive narratives expressed through public opinion. While it seems many action plans remain in development, countries, and global allies are beginning to implement significant changes to further mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

To further contribute to mitigating climate change and building climate resilience, Amazon Conservation is continuing to form partnerships, such as founding the Nature Crime Alliance (NCA) to fight environmental crimes across the globe, and working with local families and communities who are bearing the brunt of extreme climate events. We are constantly taking proactive actions to minimize the impact of future fires, droughts, and other climate-related issues impacting vulnerable communities, and with your support, can urgently work to address the impacts of climate, deforestation, and social and environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples and other communities in the Amazon. 

Take action for the Amazon

 

 

 

Take Action to Build Climate Resilience for the Amazon

During this giving season, we ask you to help us as we urgently work to address the impacts of climate, deforestation, and social and environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples and other communities in the Amazon.

While we continue our vital work with many on-the-ground communities and organizations, local heroes are taking an active role in helping protect the Amazon and guide others to become climate resilient. Read these inspiring stories below about individuals who are making a big impact when it comes to emphasizing people-first, climate-smart, and science-based conservation solutions that enable local families and communities to more easily adapt and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Manuel Lima

Many communities in the Amazon rely on local products for income, which is why it’s important that they integrate sustainable practices and learn to diversify their goods to improve the local forest-based economy and conserve their resources. Local leader and Brazil nut harvester Manuel Lima from the Porvenir community in Pando, Bolivia is a key representative of Brazil nut harvesters, helping to improve the production, economy, and market for Brazil nuts both regionally and nationally.

Support heroes like Manuel to continue training local producers about the impacts of climate change to become more climate resilient.

 

Pepe Torres

Our satellite monitoring program Monitoring of the Andes Program (MAAP) has tracked deforestation across various Indigenous territories and protected areas, both of which experience half the rate of deforestation as any other type of land.

To help keep these forests standing, individuals like Pepe Torres aim to provide training, staff capacity, technology, and legal support to local communities and individuals to defend their territory and maintain the health of the forest.

Read more about how your support can help people like Pepe make a difference in protecting the Amazon for future generations 

 

Abraham Pache Canchi

In a region with limited training, knowledge, and tools to prevent or combat fires that escape into forests, controlling fires is critical to minimize their damage to the greater forest and local communities. In response to ongoing droughts and illegal deforestation in the Beni Department in Bolivia, Abraham Pache Canchi, an Indigenous park guard is leading local fire prevention workshops to help local communities and governments be better prepared to swiftly respond to fires.

Learn more about how your support can help heroes like Abraham promote fire-free sustainable development

Take Action to Build Climate Resilience for the Amazon

The Combined Federal Campaign Announces Cause of the Week: Environmental Protection

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has announced that this week’s theme is Environmental Protection! For more than 60 years, the Combined Federal Campaign has been the official workplace-giving campaign for federal employees and retirees. It has raised more than $8.6 billion for charities and people in need, making a real and meaningful difference throughout the world.

Thanks to generous contributions made through CFC, many organizations and charities have been able to significantly make a difference in the well-being of the planet, such as helping communities experiencing structural damage from natural disasters, developing new technologies to rid plastic from the ocean, discovering new ways to remove excess carbon from the air, and more! 

As communities across the globe are experiencing the impacts of a changing climate, the CFC provides an ideal opportunity to join forces and support climate-smart and nature-based solutions to protect critical yet vulnerable places like the Amazon Rainforest.

By donating to Amazon Conservation, your support can help make an impact in the following ways: 

  • Provide local communities and governments with the knowledge, resources, and capacity needed to prevent and respond quickly to wildfires
  • Raising awareness about the importance of protecting and restoring the habitat of critical species like the jaguar
  • Teach local producers and harvesters about the impacts of climate change on their harvest and how to sustainably maintain their income via the local forest-based economy
  • Train indigenous communities on the latest technology to better protect their territories

Now through January 15, government employees and retirees can Give Happy through the Combined Federal Campaign and join others looking to have a real collective impact and protect the Amazon and its habitat. Anyone can be a changemaker through the CFC, so Give Happy and be a good steward of the Amazon by donating to Amazon Conservation!

Search for Amazon Conservation on the CFC giving page or by using our CFC #49371 to make protecting the Amazon part of your mission as a changemaker! You can also visit the CFC’s Ways to Give page to see other ways you can make your tax-deductible contribution.

Mitigating Fire Risk and Climate Change for Local Communities in Bolivia

Fire is another major obstacle to local communities’ ability to adapt to climate change and sustain a reliable forest-based economy in the Amazon. We are working hard on the ground to provide local communities and governments in Bolivia with the knowledge, resources, and capacity needed to prevent and respond quickly to fires while promoting fire-free sustainable development and more fire-resilient products.

Your contributions are aiding us in encouraging local residents to opt for economic activities that mitigate the risk of fires and may even contribute to slowing their spread. Deforested areas are prone to fire, and fire can spread faster in less forested areas and areas with less diverse crops. Rather than expansive monocultures, we encourage forest-friendly alternatives to destructive economic activities such as sustainable honey, wild cacao, and high-altitude coffee. Product diversification is also important to build resilience in the region so that local income is less susceptible to damage to crops and forests are more fire resilient by being more robust and biodiverse.

Ongoing droughts and illegal deforestation in the Beni Department in Bolivia that exacerbate the likelihood and impact of fires is a growing area of concern for local people. In a region with limited training, knowledge, and tools to prevent or combat fires that escape into forests, the ability to control fires is critical to minimize their damage on the greater forest and local communities.

In Beni, we partner with local municipalities to help support their fire prevention and firefighting efforts, with training, equipment, and tools. One of our partners on the ground is Abraham Pache Canchi, an Indigenous park guard who is leading local fire prevention workshops to help local communities and governments be better prepared to swiftly respond to fires. 

Without brave leaders like Abraham, fires would continue to jeopardize habitat for critical species like the jaguar, local homes and incomes, and the future of the greater Amazon.

Your gift can help brave heroes like Abraham continue to build resilience through climate-smart and fire-free development and strengthen local capacity for effective fire prevention and response.

Take Action to Build Climate Resilience for the Amazon

Providing Technological Trainings for Indigenous People to Defend their Territories

As our MAAP analyses continue to show (most recently MAAP #183), Indigenous territories and protected areas are vital tools in the fight to keep the Amazon standing. Our MAAP reports on the topic since 2021 continue to show that these land designations experience half the rate of deforestation as any other type of land use.

Additionally, these forests are major carbon sinks, and keeping them standing is instrumental in winning the global fight against climate change. 

This is why the work you support focuses on working with local partners on the ground to use the latest technology to protect these key conservation areas.

For local people like Pepe Torres, who manages the Community Monitoring and Oversight Program of FENAMAD (the Native Federation of the Madre de Dios River Region) in Peru, protecting ancestral lands is vital for Indigenous people. Indigenous leaders need the critical training and resources that we provide to defend their territories from illegal activities and land encroachment. Only once they have autonomy over their territory can Indigenous leaders focus on building climate resilience and protecting their resources for the long term. 

Your support provides leaders like Pepe with the training, staff capacity, technology, and legal support needed to stop environmental crime in its tracks, defend their territory, and keep their forests standing for future generations.

Take Action to Build Climate Resilience for the Amazon

Supporting Climate-Smart Development in the Amazon

Local families and communities – many Indigenous – are bearing the brunt of extreme climate events, such as drought, floods, and fires, forcing them to adapt fast to changing conditions. At this moment, the Amazon is facing a severe drought that is impacting the health of the forests and local wildlife, increasing fire risk, and limiting access to clean water for local communities. If we do not address these conservation challenges locally, they will escalate to major events impacting not only the entire Amazon but the entire planet. 

For this reason, an integral part of the work you make possible is prioritizing local needs in such emergencies and taking proactive actions to minimize the impact of future fires, droughts, and other climate-related issues. Your contributions strengthen our urgent work to address the impacts of climate, deforestation, and social and environmental injustices impacting Indigenous peoples and other communities in the Amazon. Thanks to these generous contributions from individuals like you, we are able to work on the ground and support these communities through difficult times as they strive to become more adaptive and resilient to climate change through our work in strengthening real-time monitoring, local response efforts, and sustainable forest health.

One way that you are helping meet local needs is by supporting local leader and Brazil nut harvester, Manuel Lima, from the Porvenir community in Pando, Bolivia, who has been a major force in the development of a major inter-institutional platform for producers and buyers called the Inter-Institutional Platform for the Articulation of Amazonian Fruit Production Complexes (or PICFA). PICFA aims to improve local producer incomes and producer associations by bringing together sustainable producers, buyers, governments, and other stakeholders across the Department of Pando in Bolivia. 

PICFA was created following a climate change crisis in 2018 that impacted Brazil nut harvests in the Bolivian Amazon. At the time, local producers struggled to make an income and did not understand what was happening to their harvest nor what measures should be taken. In response to this situation, we supported the creation and strengthening of PICFA so producers and local leaders like Manuel can better understand the impacts of climate change on their harvest and how they can diversify their product, ultimately building climate resilience across the region.

Manuel has played an important role in developing and formalizing the sanitation and land titling processes for local producers. He also is a key representative of PICFA and Brazil nut harvesters, helping to improve the production, economy, and market for Brazil nuts both regionally and nationally. Don Manuel is also working hard to encourage future generations to support PICFA and continue to improve the local forest-based economy as a means to defend their territories and conserve their natural resources. 

Supporting climate-smart and fire-free development in the Amazon helps local communities build sustainable development paths for themselves and provides an incentive to keep forests standing. Your support helps heroes like Manuel and his work with PICFA continue to train local producers about the impacts of climate change on their harvest and how to better diversify their production to become more climate resilient.

Take Action to Build Climate Resilience for the Amazon

MAAP’s 200th Report!

 

Our first MAAP report published in March 2015 looked at the escalating gold mining deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon.

Now, over the past 8.5 years, MAAP has continued to examine the most urgent deforestation-related issues across the Amazon, providing vital information to raise awareness and inspire solutions to protect one of the planet’s most vital ecosystems.

MAAP #200 reviews the current major deforestation fronts across the Amazon. Common drivers across countries include roads, agriculture (both small and large-scale), cattle, and gold mining.

From the data collected, the Amazon is nearing two critical deforestation-induced tipping points: the widely feared conversion of moist rainforests to drier savannahs (due to decreased moisture recycling across the Amazon), and the conversion of the Amazon as a critical carbon sink buffering global climate change to a carbon source fueling it.

There is still hope in the possibility of protecting the Amazon long term, as nearly half of the core Amazon is now designated as protected areas and indigenous territories, both of which have much lower deforestation rates than surrounding areas. Additionally, newly available data reveals the Amazon is still home to abundant carbon reserves in these core areas.

Read the full report here.

We deeply thank the following funders for supporting MAAP over the past 10 years:

  • International Conservation Fund of Canada (ICFC)
  • Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Andes Amazon Fund (AAF)
  • Wyss Foundation
  • Erol Foundation
  • Global Forest Watch/World Resources Institute
  • Overbrook Foundation
  • Global Conservation

MAAP #201: Amazon Deforestation & Carbon Update for 2023

As national policymakers begin the global COP28 climate summit in Dubai, we provide here a concise update on the current state of Amazon forest loss and remaining carbon reserves, both based on the latest cutting-edge data.

Here, in MAAP #201, we find that there has been a dramatic reduction (over one-half, 55.8%) in primary forest loss from 2022-2023, with the largest declines in the Brazilian (59%) and Colombian Amazon (67%). Compared to the peak year of 2020, forest lost has dropped by over two-thirds, or 67.7%.

Additionally, we have found that there are over 78 billion metric tons of aboveground biomass across the Amazon biome, which converts to over 37 billion metric tons of carbon.

This work was supported by NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) and ICFC (International Conservation Fund of Canada).

Read the full report here. 

Support Sustainable Businesses on Black Friday

With Black Friday coming up, it’s easy to be tempted by all the flashy deals and must-have products that come across our screens, but shopping sustainably is easier than you might think! There are many sustainable businesses out there that take measures to integrate sustainability into their business model, such as reducing their carbon footprint throughout their business to give back to the planet. 

When Raquel Fernandes da Silva began her beauty salon business called Amazonia Concept in Amsterdam in 2022, she set out to make sure her business would make a positive impact on the planet from day one. Originating from a small town in Brazil, protecting the forest and biodiversity of her home country has always been a motivating force for Raquel. As she and her husband were developing their business plan for the salon, they reached out to Amazon Conservation to form a partnership to raise awareness about the rainforest with their clients and give back through collective donations to support reforestation and conservation efforts at the headwaters of the Amazon.

Raquel explains how Amazonia Concept strongly integrates her environmental and social ethics in all facets of the business: “It doesn’t end at simply using donations as a marketing tool, but it is important to see the full impact of your supply chain to reduce products used and reduce waste, empower people, and decrease the carbon footprint of your organization, while also educating the clientele and employees to do the same.”

“In times of stress, it keeps me going to know that I am building careers for my colleagues and every bit of effort gives something back into the world… And I also think that we are running out of time to truly make a change, so the more we can do the better!” – Raquel Fernandes da Silva, Amazonia Concept Hair & Beauty Care

Are you a business owner looking to support a cause to help your company stand out in the Black Friday noise? Contact donations@amazonconservation.org to discuss partnership options to fit your business model.

Looking for eco-friendly businesses to support? Look to see if your favorite business is certified by 1% for the Planet in its commitment to the planet.

Instagram: @amazoniaconcept.salon & @raquelfernandes.nl

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Read on to learn more about what motivated Raquel to become a Business Supporter of Amazon Conservation and how she raises awareness and enthusiasm for protecting the Amazon through her business. 

Can you tell us about your background and your business?

My name is Raquel Fernandes da Silva and I’m from Itamarandiba, a small town in Minas Gerais, Brazil. Growing up in rural Brazil I have always been very close to my natural environment and was able to experience the vast biodiversity in the country. My playground was the surrounding rivers and forests, with endless adventures in the local hills teaming with wildlife. Even at home with a large family, we have always placed great reliance on our natural farmstead for food and treats. This means that we were always helping our mother in the large garden that we kept, learning about sustainable farming, and helping to sell the products at farmer’s markets.

But I also had other passions. I started working in the beauty industry already during high school and have been excited by it ever since. And, most importantly, I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Even when I left home at 18 to move to a larger city and start studying theater and law, I always came back to running my own little shop or business to make ends meet. However, I felt limited in my chances in my home country and had an opportunity to move to Amsterdam, Netherlands with my brother. From then on, I was driven to set up my own brand of hair and beauty services here in Amsterdam and start making my own line of business successful while adhering to my social and ecological standards.

I was able to open my own business, finally, after the COVID pandemic lockdowns passed. Since the beginning of 2022, we opened the doors of “Amazonia Concept” under the motto “Where Beauty meets Nature” and have been focused on making this idea a reality ever since. It’s always been important for me to embody my culture and embed it into my life’s work. I truly believe that the culture of Amazonia Concept comes from the heart of Brazil – the essence of who I am. I feel extremely grateful that I can use my art to help transform people’s lives by focusing on inner beauty, confidence, empowerment, and self-esteem. Throughout my career as a hairstylist, my ultimate goal has always been for hair to represent the person’s true essence.

What initially inspired you to support environmental causes through your business?

I am a relatively new supporter of Amazon Conservation, and the idea comes from our holistic approach to running a business in the beauty industry. We aim to create beauty through promoting health in the client, not simply focusing on short-term improvement. We aim to provide additional business support to our employees to enable them to become their own entrepreneurs within our supporting business structure. We focus on using natural products with a sustainable farming background and supporting smaller businesses rather than the mainstream product lines.

Furthermore, I try to connect directly with the communities in the Brazilian Amazon as well. For example, when I was traveling in Brazil this January with my husband to explore more ways to directly support local communities, the potential for local sustainable farming, and ways to start our own product line, we found a great way to directly support the community in Novo Airão. The small town is located directly on the Rio Negro, an older tributary of the Amazon River. Local artisans construct beautiful artwork from scrap wood from local shipworks and the proceeds directly fund childcare efforts in the village. We now display some of the artwork, trying to help sell and raise awareness about these efforts. The local network of environmental supporters in the area also helped establish transportation for potential buyers in Europe.

So the idea of supporting biodiversity and ecological protection specifically in the Amazon basin was an integral part of my business plan from the very beginning. In order to engage our clients in our collective ecological impact, we sponsor the planting of 1 tree in the Amazon Basin through Amazon Conservation for every 100 Euros spent at our salon. This has led us to sponsor almost 2000 trees through just this effort, plus we have more individual fundraisers every year for birthdays and holidays.

Why do you think it is important to protect the Amazon?

Protection of the natural beauty in my home country is something that has always been extremely important to me due to my origins and upbringing. I have witnessed the deterioration of the local environment firsthand, and it has always been my dream to use my entrepreneurial efforts for the good of the world. In times of stress, it keeps me going to know that I am building careers for my colleagues and every bit of effort gives something back into the world. I believe in the importance of the smallest components to let the biggest of us strive, the whole circle of life is beautiful to me. And I also think that we are running out of time to truly make a change, so the more we can do the better!

What stands out about Amazon Conservation compared to other organizations and why did you choose to support our work?

First off, I love the transparency and humbleness of your organization. And the approach that is placed on land conservation and ecological protection of the forest itself is what truly brought it home to me. While making our own contributions where we can on the ground, I have no doubt I will continue to support Amazon Conservation for a long time to come!

How has your business community responded to your support?

Our client base has responded extremely positively. People often ask us to report more on it, we are talking about and promoting your efforts now on our social media, and sharing as much as we can about your good work. I believe we have inspired more than a few of our customers to engage with [Amazon Conservation] privately as well!

Do you have a favorite program or initiative that stands out to you?

The use of technological advances in the protection of the forest basin is an amazing program. It helps the local communities by educating them and places powerful tools in the hands of the protectors of our lands against the corruption and disease that is a threat to biodiversity.

What would you say to other environmentally-conscious people and businesses about how they can help make a difference and help conserve the Amazon?

For any business that wants to make an impact, I believe it is vital to structure the entire economic presence to make a positive impact. It doesn’t end at simply using donations as a marketing tool, but it is important to see the full impact of your supply chain to reduce products used and reduce waste, empower people, and decrease the carbon footprint of your organization, while also educating the clientele and employees to do the same.

New MAAP Report Provides a Carbon Update in the Amazon, based on NASA’s GEDI Mission

MAAP #199 provides an update on the current state of remaining Amazon carbon reserves. Presenting the newly updated version of NASA’s GEDI data, which uses lasers aboard the International Space Station to provide cutting-edge estimates of aboveground biomass density on a global scale, we take a first look at striking maps of the current aboveground biomass across the Amazon biome, highlighting the peak carbon densities in the northeast Amazon and southwest Amazon.

The peak biomass concentrations in the northeast Amazon include Suriname, French Guiana, and the northeast corner of Brazil. The peak biomass concentrations in the southwest Amazon are centered in southern Peru. Also note that many parts of Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Bolivia, Brazil, and northern Peru have high carbon densities as well.

An estimate of >78 billion metric tons of aboveground biomass across the Amazon biome was calculated among the laser-based data, coming to the estimated equivalent of >37 billion metric tons of carbon. Given that the laser-based data has not yet achieved full coverage across the Amazon, this is certainly an underestimate.

This work was supported by NORAD (Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation) and ICFC (International Conservation Fund of Canada).

Read the full report here.