Steve Backshall broadcasts direct from the heart of the Amazon about the devastating forest fires.

Steve Backshall, the naturalist, writer and television presenter, has made an impassioned appeal on behalf of World Land Trust for donations to help the environmental charity secure threatened land around the world.

“These are the forests of Amazonia,” Steve says as he sits in a boat travelling down the Amazon river in Ecuador, “and I’m sure that you’ve seen that the news has been filled with the fact that these forests are on fire, the lungs of our planet burning to the ground.”

Steve then goes on to talk about the fact that, while the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is certainly cause for alarm, we should be concerned about the fate of all forests.

“What is much less publicised,” the World Land Trust Patron continues, “is the fact that in every single tropical rainforest around the world, this is what happens every year, from Borneo and Sumatra to New Guinea and Madagascar.”

The World Land Trust response

World Land Trust protects the world’s most biologically significant habitats by funding the creation of reserves to provide permanent protection for habitats and wildlife. Since the organisation works with local conservation groups to protect forestry all over the world, it has a unique view on the causes of mass deforestation and what can be done to prevent it.

The charity has recently been working in Ecuador, helping a partner organisation purchase land in the Amazonian Andes, as well as raising funds to purchase land and plant trees in Nangaritza – another area of the Ecuadorian rainforest. World Land Trust also run a programme called Keepers of the Wild programme, which funds rangers who help to monitor and control wildfires in Mexico and Belize.

As well as extensive areas of the Amazon in Ecuador, World Land Trust also runs projects in Bolivia and Paraguay where large areas of forestry have been damaged by fire. “WLT’s priority is to save these critically threatened forests and we will be supporting partners in these countries as needed,” the organisation said in a statement.

So what can you do?

As an individual, one of the things you can do is donate to World Land Trust’s Action Fund, which directs money to the most urgent conservation priorities, or their Keepers of the Wild programme, which funds rangers to patrol WLT reserves, monitoring wildfire risks and coordinating a quick and effective response when required.

If you own or work for a business that uses printed communications, a great way to raise funds for World Land Trust is to join the Carbon Balanced Paper scheme. This initiative encourages companies to use papers and printers that have had their carbon impact balanced by World Land Trust. Not only are the carbon emissions of these companies reduced, but they raise funds to help World Land Trust preserve the world’s most endangered habitats – not just in the Amazon but all over the world.

“It’s really difficult to know what we can do to make a difference,” says Steve Backshall in his video. “But to my mind, the most practical thing is to purchase rainforest to extend the range of existing national parks, to put it back into local stewardship. That’s why I support World Land Trust.”

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