The World Rainforest Fund is a non-profit organization founded in 1984, dedicated to preserving biodiversity and saving rainforests worldwide, primarily tropical rainforest, and mainly in Latin America. Our focus is on the Brazilian Amazon, since this is the largest intact rainforest on earth. The methods we use are empowering indigenous people to help them save their rainforest homes; giving grants to worthy, qualified non-profit organizations doing projects of special value to conserve rainforests; and public education in the United States. The following is elaboration on the three major methods we employ to save rainforests.
Empowering Indigenous People of the Rainforest
The first method we employ, helping indigenous peoples, is based on scientific studies that have demonstrated that the most effective way to save rainforest is aiding and empowering the indigenous peoples of the rainforest (1, 2). This is because poor tropical countries often do not have enough money to pay for a sufficient number of rangers and amount of equipment to protect their national parks, which become “paper parks”—national parks in name only. So people cut and burn the forests and shoot the wildlife even when they are in national parks. Indigenous people, on the other hand, live in the rainforest and want to protect their land, and hence are essentially unpaid guardians of the rainforest. Additionally, scientific research has revealed that the lands of indigenous peoples have the highest number of animal and plant species.
Public Education on Rainforests and the Need to Save Them
Our public education is in the United States, and includes public lectures to such groups as service clubs (such as the Lions and Rotary Clubs), business groups, schools at all levels from pre-school to college, churches, and any other interested organizations; writing articles; social networking; and our website. The World Rainforest Fund is one of the few environmental organizations that is science-based. We educate and act as a resource for the public and other environmental organizations on science as it relates to environmental issues, especially saving rainforests and biodiversity. We stress the need to base decisions concerning environmental issues on science. The organization’s President and founder, David Seaborg, is a scientist, an evolutionary biologist.
Partnering with Other Environmental Organizations and Giving Grants Qualified Rainforest Organizations
The Fund partners with other environmental organizations to save rainforests. These organizations are listed in the Partners section of this website. Additionally, we give grants to effective, qualified tax-exempt, non-profit organizations that have exceptional projects to save rainforests. These organizations work in different ways than we do, filling different niches than ours. We study and vet these organizations very carefully before giving them grants. The lists of organizations that recently received grants from us are listed under the heading Projects and Grants.
1. Nepstad, D., Schwartzman, S., Bamberger, B., Santilli, M., Ray, D., Schelsinger, P., Lefebvre, P., Alencar, A., Prinz, E., Fiske, G., and Rolla, A. (February, 2006). Inhibition of Amazon Deforestation and Fire by Parks and Indigenous Lands. Conservation Biology, Volume 20, Number 1: 65-73.
2. Porter-Bolland, L., Ellis, E. A., Guariguata, M. A., Ruiz-Mallén, I., Negrete-Yankelevich, S., Reyes-García, V. (2011). Community managed forests and forest protected areas: An assessment of their conservation effectiveness across the tropics. Forest Ecology and Management. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.05.034.
3. Caufield, Catherine (1984). In the Rainforest: Report from a Strange, Beautiful, Imperiled World. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois.
4. Perry, David (1986). Life Above the Jungle Floor: A Biologist Explores a Strange and Hidden Treetop World. Simon and Schuster, Inc. New York, New York.