Selected from 90 nominations and 15 finalists, the award winners from five regions are recognized for supporting forest conservation and sustainable use and the rights of forest dwellers.
The winners are from Cameroon, Russia, Japan, US and Brazil.
In addition, Jose Claudio Ribeiro and Maria do Espirito Santo of Brazil were recognized posthumously, after they were murdered while fighting illegal logging in the Amazon.
17 September 2012: The UN’s social media team has compiled videos featuring the work of each winner of the first Forest Heroes Award, issued by the Secretariat of the UN Forum on Forests (UNFF). Awards were issued to one winner in each region, in addition to a special award for Jose Claudio Ribeiro and Maria do Espirito Santo of Brazil, who were murdered after working to halt illegal logging in the Amazon.
With the International Forest Heroes Programme and Awards, the UNFF Secretariat seeks to honor people working in “quiet and heroic ways” to sustain, protect and manage forests.
UNFF received 90 nominations from 41 countries in all five geographic regions, and selected 15 finalists, whose actions embody innovative and grassroots initiatives, “tapping into the multiple values of forests,” UNFF notes.
The winners include Paul Nzegha Mzeka from Cameroon for promoting bee farming, watershed protection and the conservation of community forests. Anatoly Lebedev from Russia won the Europe award for his work against illegal logging and promotion of the rights of indigenous communities and conservation of Siberian tigers. Shigeatsu Hatakeyama from Japan won an award for tree planting for the delivery of ecosystem services, while the North America award was shared by Rhiannon Tomtishen and Madison Vorva of the US for raising awareness of the impacts of palm oil production on orangutan. Finally, Paulo Adario of Brazil won the Latin America award for addressing deforestation and promoting the sustainable use of the Amazon forest.