IMAZON founder Adalberto Verissimo and his partner Carlos Souza Jr. are reducing deforestation around the world by targeting sustainable development, including forest management, conservation and preservation of the pristine ecosystems in the Brazilian Amazon. IMAZON achieves social impact by producing knowledge through scientific research, fostering the development of public policies, and enlisting the support of public opinion in the search of sustainable solutions that harmonize people's relationship with nature in the Amazon region. One of IMAZON’s main tools has been a satellite monitoring system of the Amazon (SAD - Deforestation Alert System) to track deforestation, forest degradation and C02 emissions trends at monthly rate.
Over the span of 20 years, Adalberto and Carlos have transformed what began as pilot experiments and innovative ideas into national public policies regulating land use in the Amazon. The success of IMAZON’s early studies and experiments contributed to a paradigm shift in Brazilian history where traditional ‘enemies’ and ‘natural allies’ of the environment established partnerships for the first time to foster sustainable development. The strength and economic viability of Imazon’s work has led the Government of Brazil to adopt IMAZON’s concept of Forest Management as a public policy. In addition, IMAZON’s researchers have used scientific data demonstrating the direct relationship between the price of cattle and soya and the incidences of deforestation to produce major changes in the beef industry. Through a combination of applied research and win-win negotiations, Adalberto and Carlos have led programs with 5 million hectares of sustainable forests and 25 million hectares of the Amazon formally protected as Conservation Units through 2010.
The future of the Amazon has been a highly debated topic for the past two decades. On the one side, it has been exploited and deforested by ranchers, loggers and land speculators and on the other, environmentalists have tried to block any development in order to preserve its unspoiled condition. The need for IMAZON in this dialogue space is great. While their programs have already made a substantial impact, even more work is necessary to direct policy and discourse towards their ideas.
Adalberto and Carlos’ ultimate global vision is to map and monitor in real time the world’s 1 billion hectare tropical rainforest and influence policies that make protection of this area sustainable for decades to come. To do this, they will utilize a network of public and private institutions to leverage IMAZON’s impact across other sectors and geographic areas. One such partner is Google with whom Carlos is developing ‘Google Forest,’ making the real-time monitoring of deforestation accessible to people the world over. Adalberto and Carlos hope that this mapping will enable a world stock market of forests, showing its conditions in real time. Having already mapped almost 1/3 of world tropic forests, they are extending their approach to an additional 9 countries. Perhaps the most important step in their plan is to build greater public support in strategic areas to reorient policies in the region towards IMAZON’s initiatives. By increasing the impact of IMAZON programs, Adalberto and Carlos will significantly reduce the rate of deforestation, enabling future generations to experience its beauty and benefits.
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