The Amazon Rainforest is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet whose healthy functioning impacts nearly all life on Earth, yet it is increasingly at risk of irreparable deterioration due to deforestation, pollution, overfishing, habitat fragmentation and other factors. The upcoming Amazon Summit in Belem, Brazil provides a unique opportunity for decision makers from all eight member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO) to develop a collaborative, transboundary approach to protecting the Amazon. As leaders, scientists, environmentalists and other key influencers convene in Belem, we are hopeful that the summit will serve as a catalyst for cross-regional efforts to protect the Amazon.
The National Geographic Society and our partners are committed to collaborative conservation efforts to create long-lasting and positive changes. In 2022, the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Amazon Expedition was launched. Led by National Geographic Explorers who are top local scientists from countries across South America, the multi-year science and storytelling transect of the Amazon River Basin from the Andes to the Atlantic covers over 4,000 miles in five countries, unearthing critical threats facing the region and, importantly, developing solutions to protect it.
These Explorers, who recently convened in Manaus, Brazil to discuss scientific learnings to date, have been working side-by-side with hundreds of local community leaders, students and educators to develop solutions that aim to protect the entire basin, from the source glaciers in the tropical Andes to the Andean bears in the cloud forests of Peru to the pink river dolphins and arapaima fish in the floodplains to the tidal mangrove forests at the mouth of the Amazon River on the Atlantic Coast.
National Geographic Explorers issued the following statement and are available for interviews:
João Campos-Silva, National Geographic Explorer, Rolex Laureate and Fulbright scholar conducting socio-ecological studies and implementing community-based management solutions in the Juruá River Valley (Brazil)
“The Amazon is home to 1 in 10 of the planet’s known species and more than 40 million people,” says Campos-Silva. “Collaborative efforts amongst the people are key to generating solutions to ensure a brighter future for the region. The Indigenous peoples and local communities at the forefront of this have already been working collectively within their communities. I am hopeful that the leaders of the Amazon Summit will also reinforce this conclusion and produce joint commitments in order to create real change in the Amazon.”
On August 6th, during one of the pre-meeting Amazon Dialogue sessions, Campos-Silva and other Fulbright scholars will lead a panel discussion on the value of transboundary research, critical partnership with local communities and collaboration across the countries that make up the Amazon River Basin to better inform solutions to sustain the region.
Fernando Trujillo, National Geographic Explorer and marine biologist studying the effects of mercury in dolphins and fish as well as advocating for aquatic conservation areas (Colombia)
“The Amazon is at its tipping point. We see it in the water, the food and, of course, deforestation,” says Trujillo. “It’s not just happening in Colombia or Brazil but across all nine countries the Amazon touches. It’s critical that policies are agreed upon at the highest level and commitments to joint collaboration are secured.”
Angelo Bernardino, National Geographic Explorer and ecologist studying the sequestration capacity and socio-ecological value of mangrove forests in the Amazon coast (Brazil)
“Tidal mangrove forests in the Legal Brazilian Amazon are critical to the sustenance of Amazonian coastal communities, and have an important role to help mitigate the warming of our planet,” says Bernardino. “Within the ACTO countries, the Brazilian Amazon makes up over two-thirds of all mangroves in South America and are home to climate-vulnerable coastal communities. Collective conservation efforts would have the greatest impact on preserving the Amazonian coastal forests.”
ABOUT PERPETUAL PLANET EXPEDITIONS
The National Geographic and Rolex partnership supports expeditions to explore the planet’s most critical environments. By harnessing world-renowned scientific expertise and cutting-edge technology that reveal new insights about the systems that are vital to life on Earth, these expeditions help scientists, decision-makers, and local communities plan for and find solutions to the impacts of climate and environmental change while illuminating the wonder of our world through impactful storytelling.