Global snapshot

Feature story - 21 March, 2006
What we've lost, what we have left and what we will lose if we don't act now. That is the message that the latest global maps of the planet's last intact forests and most vulnerable ocean areas tell us.

A Siberian tiger, one of the many species that will become extinct if a global network of protected areas aren't created.

The maps were launched at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)as government delegates begin negotiating how to stop the world'splants and animals from disappearing forever.

View the


of the last intact forests

View a


of the ocean areas most in need of protection

TheCBD has set itself the goal of significantly reducing the number ofplants and animals becoming extinct by 2010 for life on land and 2012for ocean life. It is an ambitious target given that they have barelystarted the work after 14 years of painfully slow negotiations betweenthe more than 180 counties who have signed the convention.   

Ourlatest maps show that implementing a global network of large protectedareas, which are required to stop the slide towards extinction for manyplants and animals can be achieved now. The map of the remaining intactforest areas was created using the latest satellite images and is themost up-to-date map of its kind. The map of the oceans uses the latestresearch to determine the areas of the ocean in most need ofprotection.

If the global network of protected areas isn'timplemented, within 20 years, a huge portion of the planet's plants andanimals will be lost forever. There has never been a more urgent needfor action.

"Governments can use these new maps to fast tracka global network of large, protected areas both on land and at sea.They can no longer use the lack of maps and data as an excuse for nottaking action to halt the biological catastrophe we are facing. If theydon't, we run the risk of losing even more species forever, and in sodoing jeopardising our own survival," said Greenpeace Internationalforest campaigner, Christoph Thies.

The launch of the mapscoincides with Greenpeace campaigns to highlight the globalbiodiversity crisis. Greenpeace is in the heart of the Amazoncampaigning to prevent it being cleared to grow agricultural productsuch as soy. Greenpeace has also set up a Global Forest Rescue Station in the Paradise Forests of Papua New Guinea to protect the forests from illegal logging.

At sea, our ship the Esperanza is continuing its 15-month long Defending Our Oceans Expedition,currently focused on stopping pirate fishing and securing sustainablefuture livelihoods for the millions of people living in coastal communities who dependon the marine environment for food and income.

The challenge forthe world is to use these maps as a roadmap to recovery and not as asad reminder to future generations of what we could have saved if onlythe governments of the world had acted.

To view the maps of the last intact forests click here.

To view the maps of the oceans in most need of protection click here.

For more detailed forest maps available as google earth (.kmz) or Arcview (.shp) file downloads, methodology explanation and discussion forum go to

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