Public Release: 

Intact forests: Indispensable to the fight against climate change

Oxford, UK, 18-20 June 2018

Wildlife Conservation Society

LONDON (12 June 2018) -- A major international conference on "Intact Forests in the 21st Century" will take place in Oxford, UK on 18 - 20 June 2018. Many of the world's leading experts in the field--scientists, researchers, policy experts, and conservationists--will showcase the latest findings on intact forests, their benefits, the threats, and the best methods to protect them.

The conference provides an exciting opportunity for interested journalists to meet and interview experts, and expand their knowledge about intact forest preservation. New data illuminating just how unique and valuable the planet's remaining intact forests are will be released during the event, including a major updated map of the world's Intact Forest Landscapes.

The conference is hosted by the University of Oxford in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).

WHERE: Grove Auditorium, Magdalen College, Oxford, OX1 4AU

WHEN: 18-20 June 2018

BACKGROUND:

Forests are among the most ecologically important landscapes on Earth; 1.6 billion people depend on them and 80percent of animals and plants on land live in forests. Preserving forests is one of the most cost-effective solutions to mitigating climate change and could help meet 30-50 percent of the Paris Agreement target to keep Earth's temperature rise below 2°C by 2050. In particular, "intact" forests - the large, unbroken swaths of forests whose ecological functions remain unharmed by human activity - provide extraordinary benefits for protecting wildlife, human health, water supplies, and indigenous communities. Furthermore, intact forests play a significant role in the fight against climate change, the most pressing environmental threat facing our planet today. The mounting evidence of these benefits was recently reviewed in a high profile paper in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution (Watson et al 2018).

Despite these extraordinary benefits, intact forests are disappearing. Since 2000, intact forests have diminished by over 9 percent - twice the rate of overall forest clearance. If destruction continues at this pace, half of today's intact forests will be gone by 2100.

The Intact Forests conference is bringing together international thought-leaders and prominent practitioners to better define intact forests, map their locations, gauge their values, assess threats, and evaluate strategies to protect them. Participants will be invited to debate and sign a Declaration of the main findings.

The symposium is poised to garner media attention and result in new policy briefs and publications.

INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES:

Among the many notable speakers available for interview will be:

Frances Seymour, Distinguished Senior Fellow, World Resources Institute (WRI), US

WRI is a global research organization that turns big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. WRI's Global Forest Watch is a dynamic online forest monitoring and alert system that enables anyone to analyze forest trends, create maps, subscribe to alerts, and download local or global forest data.

James Watson, Director, Science and Research Initiative at the Wildlife Conservation Society, US, and Professor at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and Interim Director for the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Science (CBCS), University of Queensland, Australia

CBCS is a world-leading solution-oriented research centre for biodiversity conservation. The centre works in partnerships with scientists, governments, non-governmental organisations, and industry to solve the world's most important conservation problems around the world.

Peter Potapov, Research Associate Professor, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, US

The Department of Geographical Sciences aims to lead the development of academic, educational, and research directions of human and natural systems, land cover/and land use change and geospatial information science, harnessing the integrative nature of geographic science to answer fundamental questions of global importance.

Yadvinder Malhi, Professor of Ecosystem Science, Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford, UK

The Environmental Change Institute organizes and promotes interdisciplinary research on the nature, causes and impact of environmental change and to contribute to the development of management strategies for coping with future environmental change.

Tom Griffiths, Responsible Finance Programme (RFP) Coordinator, Forest Peoples Programme (confirmation pending)

The Forest Peoples Programme supports the rights of peoples who live in forests and depend on them for their livelihoods. The Programme works to create political space for forest peoples to secure their rights, control their lands and decide their own futures.

Suzanne Schmitt, Extractives & Infrastructure Manager, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), UK (confirmation pending)

WWF is one of the world's largest independent conservation organizations, with more than five million supporters and a global network active in more than one hundred countries. Through its engagement with the public, businesses and government, WWF focuses on safeguarding the natural world, creating solutions to the most serious environmental issues facing our planet, so that people and nature thrive.

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WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world's oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.

The Environmental Change Institute organizes and promotes interdisciplinary research on the nature, causes and impact of environmental change and to contribute to the development of management strategies for coping with future environmental change.

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