In the Alto Mayo Protected Forest in Peru, local farmers have partnered with Conservation International to produce sustainable coffee and halt deforestation. Since 2011, this partnership has helped deforestation decline by 59 percent.
Amazonia, by the numbers
The forests of Amazonia host the richest biodiversity of any ecosystem on Earth.
Amazonia’s river system supplies hydropower for millions of people.
The region has the population of Tokyo, Mexico City and New York City combined.
As the largest forest in the world — spanning eight countries — Amazonia stores massive amounts of carbon, making it critical in the fight against climate change. But humans are driving the region to the brink.
For millennia, the Amazon rainforest has thrived on an endless cycle of rainfall supported by billions of trees recycling water back into the atmosphere. But as more trees are cleared, the forest is losing its ability to retain moisture. If this cycle of destruction continues, the rainforest will be pushed to an ecological tipping point — gradually turning into a dry savanna.
Conservation International is pursuing an ambitious strategy to sustain the forests of Amazonia, so that they can continue to sustain us all.
Roughly 15 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been deforested so far by the expansion of agriculture, grazing land, extractive industries and urban development. Scientists estimate that the “tipping point” for the forest could occur after 20-25 percent of the forest is lost. If this occurs, Earth’s climate will change irrevocably, affecting all life as we know it.
Conservation International is committed to preventing the “tipping point” in Amazonia. By 2025, we aim to conserve 80 percent of the forest while ensuring increased prosperity and human well-being in the region.
Breaking Conservation News
Conservation International research has revealed that the Amazon rainforest stores more than 20 percent of all “irrecoverable carbon” — stores of carbon in nature that, if released into the atmosphere through deforestation, would not be able to be recaptured in time to prevent runaway climate change.
To ensure the forest retains its ability to prevent climate breakdown, we must avert the tipping point. This will require adding 100+ million hectares (247 million acres) in new conservation areas and strengthening protections across more than 400 million hectares (988 million acres) of existing protected areas and Indigenous lands.
Collaboration is central to meeting these ambitious goals. Conservation International is building on our 35-year history in the region — forging partnerships with governments, Indigenous peoples, local communities, the private sector, civil society, donors and investors to make this happen.
To set our conservation priorities, we have categorized Amazonia into three “zones”:
Green Zone: Formally protected areas, Indigenous lands and other types of forest management areas (64 percent). The Green Zone must be strengthened and expanded.
Yellow Zone: Intact forests and other natural habitat that have not yet been formally protected or designated by governments for any particular use (22 percent). The Yellow Zone must be protected.
Red Zone: Forests that have been converted to agriculture, developed into cities or degraded to meet demand for food, homes, power and jobs (14 percent). Promoting sustainable agricultural production in the Red Zone will help to alleviate deforestation in the Yellow and Green Zones.
1. Strengthen and expand the Green Zone
Despite its protected status, approximately 345,000 hectares (852,000 acres) of forest are lost annually within the Green Zone due to poor management. In response, Conservation International is building new opportunities for ecotourism, carbon finance and other revenue streams that are based on living forests. We are also supporting Indigenous peoples to protect and defend their lands from illegal deforestation and enhancing community livelihoods through agroforestry and sustainable development.
2. Avoid deforestation in the Yellow Zone
The most at-risk zone, the “Yellow Zone” is the front line for turning the tide of destruction, as it encompasses large areas of forest not yet designated for protection — or for production. To avoid an ecological tipping point, another 105 million hectares (259 million acres) of forest in the Yellow Zone must be protected. Conservation International’s approach includes advising on the establishment of new protected areas and Indigenous lands and territories; expanding programs that encourage people to protect their forests by providing economic benefits; increasing access to climate finance; and promoting adoption of natural capital accounting as a framework for long-term sustainable development.
3. Increase sustainable production in the Red Zone
In the “Red Zone,” where Amazonia’s forests have already been lost or heavily degraded, Conservation International is promoting sustainable agriculture and smart development planning to reduce poverty and minimize the impact of infrastructure and mineral extraction — two of the main drivers of deforestation in these more densely populated areas. We are also helping governments restore degraded landscapes back into natural ecosystems, proving that it can be done in a cost-effective way that yields multiple benefits to local communities.
Protect an Acre of Forest
News About Forests And Indigenous People
In case you missed it: Brazil's rainforests are in serious trouble.
In case you missed it: Two ancient trees bring attention to the threat of global warming, hybridization could help some animals adapt to rising temperatures and companies must decrease deforestation to prevent climate-related losses.
In case you missed it: The Amazon is the ecological jewel of the world, home to nearly 400 billion trees and 10,000 species at risk of extinction. It’s also the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sink. Yet a new report shows those climate benefits are not uniformly distributed.
Meet three of Conservation International's Amazonia Indigenous Women's fellows working to protect the world's largest rainforest.
In case you missed it: Communities across the southern coast of the U.S. are now losing their land — and the culture it represents — to sea-level rise. Nature can help.
Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities
Our Future Forests–Amazonia Verde is working to conserve up to 12 percent of the Amazon — about 73 million hectares (180 million acres) — by 2025. Supported by the government of France, the project is one of the conservation priorities of the Alliance for the Protection of Tropical Forests, an initiative for the protection, restoration and sustainable management of tropical forests.