Opinion | Saving Wilderness Areas Before It’s Too Late

To the Editor:

Re “Why I’m Giving $1 Billion for the Planet,” by Hansjörg Wyss (Op-Ed, Nov. 1):

The Wildlife Conservation Society applauds Mr. Wyss for his $1 billion commitment to preserving the Earth’s remaining wild places. Bold philanthropy is vital to advancing new protections for nature’s strongholds on land and at sea.

Our research recently published in Nature found that we have lost 77 percent of the world’s wilderness. We must act now to save what remains, and we share Mr. Wyss’s vision and optimism about what can be accomplished if we rally the global community around the ambitious goal of protecting 30 percent of our planet’s wild places by 2030.

Through decades of experience partnering with governments, local communities and indigenous people to preserve the world’s great wilderness areas, we know that this approach works. A 2015 study by a consortium of Amazon NGOs found that deforestation rates in the Amazon are more than five times lower inside indigenous peoples’ territories than for the region as a whole.

What we do next will determine whether we secure a foundation for the global recovery of nature.

Cristián Samper
The writer is president and chief executive of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

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