Greenpeace maps show need for global network of marine and forest protected areas

Press release - 21 March, 2006
The most accurate maps ever produced covering some of the Earth's most precious ecological treasures where launched today by Greenpeace at the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Brazil. The maps reveal that less than 10% of the world's land area remains as intact forests, and identifies areas in the deep oceans in urgent need of protection.These ground-breaking maps are being released at a time when both terrestrial and marine life is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate. The current rate of extinction of plant and animal species is approximately 1,000 times faster than it was in pre-human times and is predicted to be up to 10,000 times faster by the year 2050 (1).

Mouth of Lockhart/Gordon Creek, Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia, Canada.

The maps use state of the art technology:recent high-resolution, satellite images of the world's forest areasand the latest data and techniques for mapping ocean life across thehigh seas, to create the most accurate picture yet of how governmentscan act to protect the world's major ecological systems.  Itis the first time that such accurate information has been available,and has prompted Greenpeace to challenge governments to adopt a unique'Roadmap to Recovery' for the planet. 

The oceans maps identify the marine areasthat need immediate protection from over-fishing, destructive fishing,mining and pollution. The forest map reveals the toll that humanactivity, such as destructive and illegal logging and land clearancefor agriculture, is having on the world's last ancient forests.

The maps make it clear that implementinga global network of large protected areas for both ocean and forestecosystems can be achieved now. If governments don't implement them,within 20 years, a huge portion of the planet's biodiversity will belost forever.

"Governments can use these new maps tofast track a global network of large, protected areas both on land andat sea. They can no longer use the lack of maps and data as an excusefor not taking action to halt the biological catastrophe we are facing.If they don't, we run the risk of losing even more species forever, andin so doing jeopardising our own survival," said GreenpeaceInternational forest campaigner, Christoph Thies.

"To protect marine life on Earth, we paidparticular attention to highly sensitive deepwater habitats to identifyplaces most vulnerable to harm by one of the most destructive forms offishing: deep-sea bottom trawling, " said Professor Callum Roberts ofthe University of York, who led the study for the oceans maps.  "Animmediate UN moratorium on high seas bottom trawling is essential tostop the destruction of deep-sea life whilst a global network of marinereserves is established."

Immediate moratoria on new industrialdevelopments are also needed in the last intact forest landscapes, asidentified in the new forest map. These are required to prevent furtherdestruction whilst their level of protection is significantly increased- currently only 8 per cent of these forests are adequately protected.

The launch of the maps coincides withGreenpeace campaigns to highlight the global biodiversity crisis.Greenpeace is in the heart of the Amazon campaigning to prevent itbeing cleared to grow agricultural product such as soy. Greenpeace hasalso set up a Global Forest Rescue Station in the Paradise Forests ofPapua New Guinea to protect the forests from illegal logging. At sea,the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is continuing its 15-month long DefendingOur Oceans Expedition, currently focused on stopping pirate fishing andsecuring sustainable future livelihoods for the millions of coastalcommunities who depend on the marine environment for food and income.

Greenpeaceis an independent, campaigning organisation that uses non-violent,creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and toforce solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.

Other contacts: Natalia Truchi, Greenpeace International communications (in Brazil) on +31 636184250

VVPR info: For more information on the forest maps or see the new forests report 'Roadmap to Recovery: The world's last intact forest landscapes' see: For more information on the oceans maps and the new report 'Roadmap to Recovery: a Global Network of Marine Reserves' see:

Notes: (1) Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Biodiversity Synthesis. World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.The forest map was created by a team of experts under the coordination of Greenpeace Russia´s forest and mapping team in Moscow, lead by Peter Potapov and Alexey Yaroshenko. They show that less than 10 per cent of the planet's land area remains as intact forest landscapes, less than we previously thought, and provides regional data that shows 82 out of 148 countries have lost all their forest landscapes. The forests map shows intact areas larger than 500 square kilometres. Many smaller forest areas with a high conservation value and in need of protection are not shown on this map. For more information on the forest maps see or see the new forests report 'Roadmap to Recovery: The world's last intact forest landscapes' see: The oceans maps were developed by experts from the University of York in the United Kingdom, lead by Professor Callum Roberts. Combining extensive data with advice from more than 60 eminent marine biologists, Professor Roberts used computer modeling to plot a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the high seas and necessary to protect the full range of ocean life inhabiting them. Particular attention was given to highly sensitive deepwater habitats and areas vulnerable to harm by one of the most destructive forms of fishing: deep-sea bottom trawling.

Exp. contact date: 2007-03-21 00:00:00