Spotlight on tropical forests – Sebastião Salgado at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin
Press Release from 2018-06-12 / Group, Sustainability, KfW Development Bank
Joint press release by KfW and WWF
- Photography and panel discussion: Sebastião Salgado's commitment to reforestation in Brazil – new approaches to sharing knowledge
- KfW and WWF support Brazil in the reforestation of 12 million hectares
- Key contribution to climate change mitigation and preservation of 1.5 million species
Sebastião Salgado, one of the world's most renowned photographers, talked about his work in the area of reforestation in Brazil in a panel discussion organised by WWF and KfW at the Museum of Natural History in Berlin. The event marks another step towards more in-depth knowledge sharing between Instituto Terra, founded by Sebastião Salgado and his wife Lélia Deluiz Wanick, the WWF and KfW. All three organisations are actively involved in protecting tropical forests in Brazil and support the country in its target to reforest 12 million hectares of degraded forests, which is equivalent to more than a third of the area of Germany. KfW's portfolio for tropical forest conservation in Brazil totals over EUR 500 million. WWF is currently implementing 81 projects in South America's largest country to protect the Amazon and other ecosystems, but also to improve the living conditions of 400,000 rural families.
Until now, the main focus has been on preserving existing forests, for example through the Amazonia Fund to support sustainable forest management, the designation of regional protection zones and the establishment of a rural environmental register. KfW is now the first financier – on behalf of the German Federal Government – to provide a large-volume loan of EUR 100 million for the reforestation of the Atlantic coastal forest, the Amazon and the Cerrado, a savannah area in central Brazil. In the coming years, the project aims to restore 100,000 hectares of tropical forest. In the process of reforestation, near-natural forest types will be created in cooperation with small, medium and large landowners. This pledge to Brazil can be viewed as part of the "Bonn Challenge" supported by the German Federal Government under which countries and private initiatives have so far committed themselves to reforesting 160 million hectares worldwide.
Sebastião Salgado said: "The world loses a piece of its soul every time a tree disappears. Brazil's coastal rain forest is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world. A lot has already been destroyed, and we have a duty to help nature regenerate itself. Preserving the forests is one of humankind's most vital responsibilities and I am happy to contribute."
Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Maria Flachsbarth said: “The forests are the lungs of the planet - if they disappear, we literally lose our breath. Forests also ensure the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide, they live with and from their forests. Our goal is to use the forest sustainably without destroying it - and we want to maintain and promote this balance. And every newly planted tree is an investment in the future of our environment - and our children.
Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter stated: "The tropical rain forest in the Amazon is an air-conditioner for our planet. Mr Salgado's photographs show this very vividly. Our global responsibility is to ensure that the delicate balance in the Amazon is not disturbed any further. The Federal Ministry for the Environment is working to stop deforestation, restore forests, protect primeval forests and establish ecologically and socially sustainable forest management practices. The fact that associations, government offices and financiers are moving closer together across borders is a very positive sign here."
Dr Maritta Koch-Weser, deputy chair of WWF's Foundation Council said: "The protection of forests, biodiversity and rivers go hand in hand. And nowhere else is this truer than in the tropics. As destruction continues, we must work harder to restore forests that have already disappeared. Mr Salgado's impressive dedication shows how this is possible."
Dr Joachim Nagel, member of KfW Group's Executive Board stated: "The protection of tropical forests remains our concern. By restoring tropical habitats, however, KfW can make an even greater contribution to preserving the enormous range of biodiversity and at the same time reduce carbon emissions, most of which are caused by the destruction of forest areas."
The Amazon rain forest is home to almost 1.5 million recorded species of flora and fauna, making Brazil one of the world's richest countries in terms of species. By way of comparison, Germany is home to around 75,000 different plants and animals. Brazil thus offers many starting points for preserving global biodiversity. Over the last ten years, considerable success has been achieved in fulfilling international obligations. Deforestation in the Amazon was reduced by around 80 per cent between 2004 and 2014 as part of these efforts.