John W. Reid (Top); Thomas E. Lovejoy (Bottom)
Five stunningly large forests remain on Earth: the Taiga, extending from the Pacific Ocean across all of Russia and far-northern Europe; the North American boreal, ranging from Alaska’s Bering seacoast to Canada’s Atlantic shore; the Amazon, covering almost the entirety of South America’s bulge; the Congo, occupying parts of six nations in Africa’s wet equatorial middle; and the island forest of New Guinea, twice the size of California.
These megaforests are vital to preserving global biodiversity, thousands of cultures, and a stable climate, argues economist John W. Reid. They serve an essential role in decarbonizing the atmosphere—the boreal alone holds 1.8 trillion metric tons of carbon in its deep soils and peat layers, 190 years’ worth of global emissions at 2019 levels—and saving them is an immediate and affordable large-scale solution to our planet’s most formidable ongoing crisis.
In a program that captures the majesty of these ancient forests, along with the people and animals who inhabit them, Reid offers practical solutions to meet today’s biggest challenges, from vastly expanding protected areas to supporting Indigenous forest stewards to planning smarter road networks.
Ever Green: Saving Big Forests to Save the Planet (W. W. Norton & Company), co-authored by Reid and the late biologist Thomas E. Lovejoy, is available for purchase.
Lovejoy, a giant in the fields of biodiversity and conservation biology, spent part of his career at the Smithsonian, as assistant secretary for environmental and external affairs and, in 1994, as counselor to the secretary on biodiversity and environmental affairs. He established the Smithsonian’s Institute of Conservation Biology.
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