Why the Amazon’s Biodiversity is Critical for the Globe: An Interview with Thomas Lovejoy

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From World Bank

  • The Amazon supports multiple ecosystem services and is a huge repository for Amazon countries and humankind.
  • The World Bank-led, GEF-funded Amazon Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) Program will improve management of 82 million hectares of forest across Brazil, Colombia and Peru.
  • Amazon expert and leading ecologist Thomas Lovejoy discusses threats to the Amazon and how best to manage them.

Nature is declining at a rate unprecedented in human history, confirmed by the landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)—the most comprehensive report of its kind. The massive rate of extinction of plant and animal species will likely have grave impacts on people around the world.

IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson, said at the report launch: “It is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global.” That is what the World Bank-led, Global Environment Facility-funded Amazon Sustainable Landscapes (ASL) Program is working to do in the Amazon, a region that hosts 40% of the world’s remaining rainforest, 25% of its terrestrial biodiversity, and more fish species than in any other river system. Through its integrated regional approach, the ASL will improve management of 82 million hectares of forest across Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

Often called the ‘Godfather of Biodiversity’, prominent ecologist Thomas Lovejoy has been working in the Amazon for more than 50 years. He shares with us pressures currently facing the Amazon, why we must protect the Amazon, and some solutions —including why it needs to be managed as an integrated system with incremental decisions.

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