Saving the Brazilian Amazon

Conservation’s Greatest Challenge and Opportunity: The Brazilian Amazon


Once an impenetrable fortress of biodiversity, The Brazilian Rainforest now faces threat from illegal mining, logging, and farming.

The Amazon is the world’s largest and most important tropical rainforest, originally spanning 1.7 billion acres—nearly the size of the continental U.S. It is a refuge for a third of Earth’s terrestrial species and stores 100 billion metric tons of CO 2  equivalents, more than four times the combined annual emissions of the top 10 CO 2  emitting nations. The Amazon is also the ancestral territory and current home to many of the world’s Indigenous Peoples.


The Brazilian Amazon is under imminent threat from profit-seeking outside interests that are destroying a vital ecosystem that is critical to maintaining the health of all life on Earth. Rare and endemic species are rapidly losing forests necessary for their survival. Likewise, traditional communities living on undesignated, unprotected public lands struggle against growing pressures.


Amazonas and Pará, Brazil




Wattled Curassow (EN), Ariel Toucan (EN), Eastern Red-necked Araçari (EN), Olive-winged Trumpeter (EN), Black Rail (EN), Giant Otter (EN), Black-faced Black Spider Monkey (EN)

Acres Conserved by:



Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil

Project Carbon Storage:

648,507,695 mT*

*(metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents)

More about the project

The Challenge: Stop Deforestation

Approximately 18% of the Amazon has been deforested, mostly to create pasture for commercial beef rearing or large-scale soya farms to feed cattle. In 2007, Rainforest Trust’s board member Tom Lovejoy (1941-2021) hypothesized that deforestation, if left unchecked, would interrupt the recycling of rainwater and cause a positive feedback loop between less forest and less rain. Accumulated evidence since then indicates Lovejoy was right. The Amazon is nearing the tipping point where much of the remaining forest will degrade to savanna woodland, altering the climate across South America and beyond.

Some 60% of the rainforest lies in Brazil. There, strategies to reduce deforestation—including the creation of protected areas and safeguarding of Indigenous territories—under then-President Luiz Inácio Lula de Silva led to an 80% decline in deforestation between 2005-2012. But since Lula’s term ended, deforestation has rebounded, with 2.9 million acres of forest destroyed in 2022 alone.

Preserve Vital River Ecosystems

The proposed protected areas safeguard watersheds and rivers. Rivers are the highways of the Brazilian Amazon and are used by logging companies and illegal loggers to move timber to downriver ports. By helping local and Indigenous communities secure these lands around the rivers, these areas with low deforestation will be able to maintain their rich rainforest.

These territories play an important role in mitigating climate change both locally and globally. Their wetlands and forests store 648,507,695 metric tons of CO2 equivalents, an amount comparable to the emissions from nearly 73 billion gallons of gasoline consumed.

Goals and Objectives

Rainforest Trust’s goal in the Brazilian Amazon is to permanently safeguard 20 million acres of intact forest—an expanse the size of South Carolina—over the next four years as new protected areas and Indigenous territories. By doing so, we will:

• Pull the Amazon back from the tipping point

• Safely lock up 6 billion metric tons of CO 2  equivalents (more than the U.S.’s annual total CO 2  emissions)

• Provide a permanent home for at least 70 species currently listed by IUCN’s Red List as threatened and countless species not yet listed

• Secure the territories, cultures and livelihoods of 150,000 Indigenous people

Project overview

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More about the project

The protection of this project helps participate in several of the United Nations Sustainability Goals

The protection of this project helps participate in several of the United Nations Sustainability Goals

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The protection of this project helps participate in several of the United Nations Sustainability Goals

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.

Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss.



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Eric currently works as an independent consultant at the intersection of nature and climate, focused on catalysing market and non-market solutions to drive the just transition.

He previously was Head of Product at Earthshot Labs, supporting nature conservation and restoration projects across the global south secure project finance. Prior to Earthshot Labs, Eric led nature-based carbon project development for Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique and founded the Carbon Cooperative, a global alliance of leading nature conservation and restoration practitioners exploring carbon finance. After serving in the Peace Corps in Mozambique out of university, he spent much of his 20s working in community-based conservation and ecosystem restoration efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa interspersed with two startup ventures as co-founder and CEO of a mental health tech startup and COO of a sustainable coffee company. Eric has a dual Masters in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Policy from Stanford University where he was a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and a BS in Environmental Engineering from Tufts University.

Alan is a risk management thought-leader, superconnector, and FinTech pioneer. His mission is to enable an Earth Positive economy which includes nature in global accounting systems.

Alan is Founder of Generation Blue, a venture studio dedicated to planetary game changers powered by exponential technologies. Previously, Alan established Natural Capital Markets at Lykke AG, pioneering blockchain based forestry and carbon backed tokens. Alan has over two decades of risk management experience advising global financial institutions, and was a founding member of the RiskMetrics Group, a JPMorgan spin-off. Alan is an investor and advisor to regenerative impact ventures, including TreeBuddy.Earth, Regenativ, and Vlinder Climate.

Lori Whitecalf made history when she became the first woman to be elected Chief of Sweetgrass First Nation in 2011. She served three terms of office from 2011-2017.  

Lori took a two-year hiatus from leadership to expand the family ranch and serve as the FSIN Senior Industry Liaison. She was re-elected on November 29. 2019 and again on November 30, 2021, as Chief of Sweetgrass. Chief Whitecalf practises a traditional lifestyle of hunting, fishing and gathering. She currently sits on the following boards: Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology, FSIN Lands and Resource Commission, Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre and Battleford Agency Tribal Chiefs Executive Council, FSIN Women’s Commission.

Tina is the Chief Business Officer for MLTC Industrial Investments, the Economic Development arm of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. She has a diverse background of experience. Having spent 15 years as a municipal Chief Operating Officer, 20 years involved in Saskatchewan’s Health Authority Board Keewatin Yatthe and 9 years with Northern Lights Board of Education. 


She continues as a Board Member with Beaver River Community Futures supporting small business development in her home region. Tina brings a wealth of experience in a variety of fields and many connections to the Indigenous communities of Northern Saskatchewan. In addition Tina holds a BA Advanced from the U of S, a Certificate in Local Government Authority from the U of R and is certified as a Professional Economic Developer for Saskatchewan and a certified Technician Aboriginal Economic Developer (TAED).

Tootoosis’ career spans 40+ years in HRM, political leadership, and Indigenous economic development, as a dedicated bridge builder and advocate for Indigenous causes.
As a key member of the Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority (SREDA) team since 2021, he develops strategies for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report and Call to Action #92.

He is a graduate of the First Nations University of Canada and a certified Professional Aboriginal Economic Developer. Spearheading various community initiatives while serving as a Chair of the SIEDN while directing ILDII and WIBF. Founder of MGT Consulting Tootoosis is based in Saskatoon, Treaty Six Territory.

Cy Standing (Wakanya Najin in Dakota) has a long and distinguished career including serving overseas as an Electronics Technician in the Royal Canadian Air Force, former Chief of Wahpeton Dakota Nation, former Vice Chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations (FSIN), past Executive Director of Community Development Branch of the Department of Northern Saskatchewan as well as an Order in Council appointment to the Federal Parole Board.  

Mr. Standing has served as a Director on many Profit and Non-Profit Corporate Boards, including serving as a Director for Affinity Credit Union with assets of over six billion dollars as well as IMI Brokerage and Wanuskewin and is currently a member of the One Tribe Indigenous Carbon Board.