Letter from our ED: Why the Amazon Still Matters
May 21, 2017
In the 1990s, deforestation in the Amazon was a big news story. While now less prominent in the mainstream media in the U.S., protection of the planet’s richest forest is more critical than ever, especially as we seek to halt global climate change.
This week, El Comercio, Peru’s leading newspaper, published an alarming story based on Amazon Conservation’s forest monitoring program showing the rapid devastation caused by illegal gold mining across wide swaths of southern Amazon forests. Unsustainable agricultural expansion, illegal logging, and large infrastructure projects also threaten this great wilderness. If current rates of deforestation continue, it is estimated that more than half of the Amazon may be destroyed or severely damaged by 2030. This would be an incredible loss for the planet and affect us all, as the rainforest stores 80 to 120 billion tons of carbon, stabilizing the world’s climate, and produces 20% of the oxygen we breathe.
Our deforestation analysis also highlights what’s working in the Amazon. As reported by El Comercio, Peru’s Park Service in cooperation with other government entities, including the Army and Environmental Prosecutor’s office, successfully halted recent invasions by illegal gold mining inside the spectacular forests and rivers of the Tambopata National Reserve! Local communities also play a key role in protection, like the indigenous community of Matoriato which recently declared a 4,000 acre conservation area on their ancestral communal territory with our assistance. I invite you to support these forest guardians whose work on the ground help save this global treasure.
Hannah Stutzman, Executive Director