"Megaforests"—stunningly large, intact forests—are vital to a sustainable future. By saving these green expanses we keep carbon in the ground and protect the planet, as well as the indigenous peoples and cultures megaforests sustain.
Five megaforests remain on Earth:
- The Taiga in Scandinavia and Russia
- The North American forest which stretches from Alaska, travels south to Washington state and runs east all the way to Canada's Atlantic coast
- The Amazon in South America, the Congo in Africa, and
- The island of New Guinea, twice the size of California.
These megaforests house amazing animals and breathtaking natural features, but they are more than just exotic locales. They are crucial bulwarks against climate change. As of today, boreal megaforests have packed an estimated 1.8 trillion tons of carbon into their soils. That’s nearly 200-years-worth of global carbon emissions at 2019 levels.
Take a virtual tour of these natural wonders of the world and learn their value, and learn about the dangers each face due to land development, unsustainable resource extraction, road building, and a cycle of forest fires intensified by climate change. Examine the solutions the authors propose: concrete, practical, and economically astute actions that could save the megaforests of the world.
About the Authors
John W. Reid is a conservationist and economist whose writing has appeared in outlets including The New York Times and Scientific American. He is the founder and former head of Conservation Strategy Fund, and winner of the MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. He currently serves as the senior economist for the nonprofit Nia Tero and lives in Sebastopol, California.
Thomas E. Lovejoy (1941–2021) was a pioneering biologist credited with founding the field of climate change biology. A university professor at George Mason University, he served on advisory councils in the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He also served in advisory and leadership roles at the United Nations Foundation, the World Bank, The Smithsonian Institution, and the World Wildlife Fund-US.
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