A Geography of Hope


A Geography of Hope/Saving our Last Primary Forests
Cyril F. Kormos, Russell A. Mittermeier, Tilman Jaeger, Brendan Mackey


Edited by Cristina Mittermeier

CEMEX Nature Series



Geography of Hope: Saving the Last Primary Forests highlights the spectacular forests and ecosystems of our Earth that are fast disappearing as a result of human activity. Each chapter reports on current research, sharing the life-sustaining benefits of primary forests and the decades of conservation initiatives that have gone into their protection. With their breathtaking and inspirational beauty, these forests encompass some of the most culturally and spiritually important places on Earth. Their unique ecological value—from biological diversity to freshwater quality and unmatched carbon storage—cannot be replaced bydegraded secondary forests and plantations. Their conservation is critical to the safe transition away from fossil fuel dependency. Indeed, the protection, restoration, and reforestation of primary tropical forests alone could provide 50 percent of the climate mitigation scientists have deemed necessary over the next fifty years.

This volume elegantly underscores the urgent threats to primary forests and the speed with which their irreplaceable value is being destroyed by land clearing and degradation. Together, we must make a concerted effort to prioritize the protection of the Earth’s remaining primary forests, for we cannot achieve the goals of our international climate agreements until we safeguard these magnificent intact ecosystems.

Mesmerizing in their beauty, the last intact forests on Earth, those that have thus far been spared the devastation of industrial activity, are known as Primary Forests. To enter such a forest is to witness a complex and ancient web of life. A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests presents a glimpse into these spectacular forest ecosystems that are fast disappearing because of human activity.

Leading scientific and conservation minds have contributed to this volume to spearhead a global effort to end destruction of the planet’s remaining primary forests. Each chapter reports on current research and on both the threats and the life-sustaining benefits of primary forests as well as the outstanding conservation efforts that are being made to protect them. While there has been much progress, far more must be done to stem the eradication of these important ecosystems.

Alongside the informative text, some of the world’s most talented wildlife and landscape photographers have shared their work, creating a powerful visual message at a critical juncture for legislators, world leaders, and local communities.

We invite you to journey with us into the last remaining primary forests on the planet, from boreal to temperate to tropical, and learn about the importance of these ecologically intact forests to all life on Earth. As you turn the pages in this book, we hope you will be inspired by the ineffable natural beauty of our fragile planet and be reminded of how much our well-being relies on healthy primary forests. It is up to global societies to take action to reverse the current trend. A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests is dedicated