Why is the Amazon still under threat?

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Dawn at the Amazon, as seen from the nearby Andes in Peru
© Kjeld Nielsen

We have come a long way

After decades of conservation, why is the Amazon still under threat? Surely, millions of dollars of conservation efforts should have put an end to rainforest destruction and wildlife loss in the Amazon? It’s not that easy.
The factors that are bringing millions of people into the forests and the market pressures that create colossal demands for cattle, soybean and timber are constantly changing and evolving.

And solutions for these issues are constantly adapting too. Present day problems are not the same as they were one or two decades ago.

No end in sight for conservation work

While insufficient funding limits the scope of conservation work, just throwing money in the region will not make the problems go away. WWF and partners are in it for the long haul, and realize that success comes by strengthening ongoing partnerships and exerting relentless efforts to seek solutions that benefit biodiversity and people.

If we had not tried

So what would remain of the Amazon rainforest today if conservation efforts had not been going on in earnest over the last 30 years? Organizations such as WWF, which have invested significant financial and human resources in conserving the Amazon, have created milestones in setting up protected areas, advising on land use and environmental policy and raising public awareness.

The fact that you have been aware of the Amazon’s existence and threats for so long is in part testament to the efforts to conserve the area and raise awareness. Support for Amazon conservation, both from within the confines of the Basin and from government and NGO efforts have made it more difficult for the Amazon rainforest to go up in smoke today than 20 years ago.

We have already come a long way. Perhaps not as much as we had hoped for, but certainly more than if we had just stood by and watched.

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