From the tropical Amazon to the temperate Tongass, the Earth’s forests are home to unrivaled biodiversity and splendor.
Beautiful and functional, the benefits of forests are profound and varied: they mitigate floods, provide habitat, store vast quantities of carbon, and purify our atmosphere. It is imperative that we protect the world’s forests to sustain our climate and continue to provide the same social, cultural, and economic benefits for future generations.
The forest is not a resource for us, it is life itself. It is the only place for us to live.
Goldman Prize Winners awarded for Forests
In January of 2018, as a result of the efforts of Liz Chicaje Churay and her partners, the Peruvian government created Yaguas National Park. Comparable in size to Yellowstone National Park, the new park protects more than two million acres of Amazon rainforest in the northeastern region of Loreto. Its creation is a key step in conserving the country’s biodiversity—safeguarding thousands of rare and unique wildlife species and conserving carbon-rich peatlands—and protecting Indigenous peoples.
Nemonte Nenquimo led an indigenous campaign and legal action that resulted in a court ruling protecting 500,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory from oil extraction. Nenquimo’s leadership and the lawsuit set a legal precedent for indigenous rights in Ecuador, and other tribes are following in her footsteps to protect additional tracts of rainforest from oil extraction.
Under threat of violence, environmental lawyer and activist Alfred Brownell stopped the clear-cutting of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers. His campaign protected 513,500 acres of primary forest that constitute one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, enabling indigenous communities to continue their stewardship of the forest. For his safety, he is living in temporary exile in the United States.
In one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists, Leng Ouch went undercover to document illegal logging in Cambodia and exposed the corruption robbing rural communities of their land, causing the government to cancel large land concessions.
An internationally recognized bat expert and zoologist, Suren Gazaryan led multiple campaigns exposing government corruption and illegal exploitation of federally protected forestland along Russia’s Black Sea coast.
A biologist by training, Rudi Putra led communities in dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in northern Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of the critically endangered Sumatran rhino.
Partners in Forests
The Goldman Prize is honored to partner with a variety of environmental organizations around the world, each of them united in the goal of protecting our planet. From our nominating partners to global organizations to grassroots NGOs led by Prize winners, they are all essential parts of the environmental community.