Posted on 19 December 2014
Interview with Julia Gorricho, director of the project “Protected Areas, Natural Solutions to Climate Change”, part of the Amazon Vision framework, funded by German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and WWF Germany.
“Amazon protected areas are essential to ensure that key environmental services are available for future generations”
Interview with Julia Gorricho, director of the project “Protected Areas, Natural Solutions to Climate Change”, part of the Amazon Vision Framework , funded by German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (bmub) and WWF Germany.
Julia Gorricho has worked extensively on protected areas management; biodiversity conservation in settings of violent conflict; environmental governance; climate change; conflict resolution and marine ecosystems management. In October 2014, she joined WWF Living Amazon Initiative (LAI) as the director of the project “Building resilience in the Amazon Biome: Protected areas as integral part of adaptation to climate change”.
The project is implemented by RedParques, National Parks of Colombia, the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador, the Protected Areas Service of Peru, the Ministry of the Environment of Brazil and WWF (Living Amazon Initiative and related offices) to complement the Pan-Amazon Ecosystem-based Conservation Vision. It seeks to achieve by the end of 2016 the incorporation of Protected Areas Systems (PAS) as an integral part of the strategies to face climate change in the Amazon Biome.
Tell us about your early career and how you became to work in the field of biodiversity conservation?
I am an anthropologist with a great interest in understanding the different ways in which humans relate to the natural environment. I've been lucky to work in some of the most biodiverse and beautiful places on earth such as Galapagos (Ecuador), Old Providence Island (Colombia) and the Amazon. I am always looking for ways to work collaboratively with various stakeholders in order to agree on how to conserve the pristine places still left in the world and use resources in a more sustainable way.
From your vision and experience what are the main challenges of the project Amazon Biome: Natural Solution to climate change?
The main objective of this project is to position Amazon Protected Areas Systems as essential natural solutions for mitigating climate change. Protected areas are the most effective mechanism to conserve ecosystems and key environmental services for human well-being.
The biggest challenge for this project is that diverse stakeholders of the Amazon (e.g. local communities and governments, decisions makers and international organizations) recognize the contribution of Amazonian protected areas to climate regulation and include them in climate change adaptation strategies.
What is the contribution of this project to the world?
The call to recognize and appreciate the environmental services that we received from the protected areas of the Amazon region, such as carbon sequestration, water and food production, scenic beauty, biodiversity conservation and genetic resources, among others.
Why WWF does works on protected areas and how important are protected areas in a scenario of climate change?
Amazon protected areas are essential to ensure that key environmental services are available for future generations. WWF aims at supporting governments in the Amazon region and important partners like RedParques (The Latin American Network for Protected Area Systems) in strengthening protected areas systems.
In your opinion, what are the main threats to protected areas in the Amazon?
Protected areas of the Amazon today face many threats such as the expansion of the agricultural frontier, extraction of minerals and hydrocarbons, and the construction of hydroelectric power. Equally important is the financial and management weakness of protected areas systems in the region that hinder a more effective management in this region.
What are the key factors to address these threats?
Many, but I am convinced that strengthening regional governance is a key to achieve important conservation agreements for the Amazon. Therefore, it is essential to strengthen key actors in the region in order to have an impact on the future of the Amazon.
How would you explain the importance of this project to an average citizen, a parent, a youngster or a businessman?
The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest on the planet. Without this magnificent forest the impacts of climate change will affect us all more. The protected areas of the Amazon are critical to ensure that rain cycles are maintained, river levels are constant, local communities have access to food, the carbon stored in its diverse ecosystems is not released, species have their natural habitats, and everyone can enjoy this beautiful green immensity and the extraordinary diversity of life in the Amazon region. WWF and RedParques have been working jointly for the protected areas in the Amazon and for a wide recognition of their role in regulating climate.