September 23, 2013 — Nearly 19 percent of the Amazon rain forest has been lost in the past 50 years, and despite recent trends showing declining rates of deforestation, challenges still remain.
The forces behind global forest loss are well known – commercial agriculture, subsistence farming, logging, deforestation for fuel and urban expansion.
The good news? Solutions exist. From placing a value on the “natural capital” of intact forests to stricter forest management, sustainable sourcing and reforestation, there’s still time to preserve the lungs of the planet.
And in certain corners of the world’s rain forests, individual actions can still have a big impact in the face of significant challenges. Like those of Reynaldo Ochoa.
In the video “Reynaldo: Rainforest Hero,” we glimpse Ochoa’s inspiring efforts to slow deforestation in his native Peru.
The video follows his personal transformation from forest-clearing farmer to champion of agroforestry — a system in which small-scale agriculture lives in harmony with the forest and the surrounding biodiversity.
Earlier this year the video won both the United Nations Forest Short Film Festival Award and best short film at the United Kingdom Green Film Festival.
Ochoa’s mission is to replant some of the forest that has been lost. To date, he has grown and planted more than 30,000 seedlings.
His greatest impact, however, may be the message he’s carrying to others in the rain forest. With support from the Crees Foundation, Ochoa regularly travels to communities throughout the Manu region of Peru to promote the benefits of agroforestry and create a system that, in his words, works “in balance with nature” and the needs of the people.
As Ochoa eloquently states toward the end of the video, “Everything in life begins with a seed. It is the same for a plant, a tree or an idea.”
Dan Childs and Nick Werber directed “Reynaldo.” The video was produced by Nick Werber and the Crees Foundation. The Crees Foundation strives to protect the biodiversity of the rain forest by involving the people who live there in its protection.