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Safeguarding the Earth's lungs

From the tropical Amazon to the temperate Tongass, the Earth’s forests are home to unrivaled biodiversity and splendor.

Beautiful and functional, the benefits of forests are profound and varied: they mitigate floods, provide habitat, store vast quantities of carbon, and purify our atmosphere. It is imperative that we protect the world’s forests to sustain our climate and continue to provide the same social, cultural, and economic benefits for future generations. 

The forest is not a resource for us, it is life itself. It is the only place for us to live.

Peru, 1991
Evaristo Nugkuag

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Goldman Prize Winners awarded for Forests

Alok Shukla

2024 Goldman Prize Winner

Alok Shukla led a successful community campaign that saved 445,000 acres of biodiversity-rich forests from 21 planned coal mines in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. In July 2022, the government canceled the 21 proposed coal mines in Hasdeo Aranya, whose pristine forests—popularly known as the lungs of Chhattisgarh—are one of the largest intact forest areas in India.

Delima Silalahi

2023 Goldman Prize Winner
Islands & Island Nations

Delima Silalahi led a campaign to secure legal stewardship of 17,824 acres of tropical forest land for six Indigenous communities in North Sumatra. Her community’s activism reclaimed this territory from a pulp and paper company that had partially converted it into a monoculture, non-native, industrial eucalyptus plantation. The six communities have begun restoring the forests, creating valuable carbon sinks of biodiverse Indonesian tropical forest.

Liz Chicaje Churay

2021 Goldman Prize Winner
South & Central America

In January of 2018, as a result of the efforts of Liz Chicaje Churay and her partners, the Peruvian government created Yaguas National Park. Comparable in size to Yellowstone National Park, the new park protects more than two million acres of Amazon rainforest in the northeastern region of Loreto. Its creation is a key step in conserving the country’s biodiversity—safeguarding thousands of rare and unique wildlife species and conserving carbon-rich peatlands—and protecting Indigenous peoples.

Nemonte Nenquimo

2020 Goldman Prize Winner
South & Central America

Nemonte Nenquimo led an indigenous campaign and legal action that resulted in a court ruling protecting 500,000 acres of Amazonian rainforest and Waorani territory from oil extraction. Nenquimo’s leadership and the lawsuit set a legal precedent for indigenous rights in Ecuador, and other tribes are following in her footsteps to protect additional tracts of rainforest from oil extraction.

Alfred Brownell

2019 Goldman Prize Winner

Under threat of violence, environmental lawyer and activist Alfred Brownell stopped the clear-cutting of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers. His campaign protected 513,500 acres of primary forest that constitute one of the world’s most important biodiversity hotspots, enabling indigenous communities to continue their stewardship of the forest. For his safety, he is living in temporary exile in the United States.

Leng Ouch

Leng Ouch

2016 Goldman Prize Winner

In one of the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental activists, Leng Ouch went undercover to document illegal logging in Cambodia and exposed the corruption robbing rural communities of their land, causing the government to cancel large land concessions.

Partners in Forests

The Goldman Prize is honored to partner with a variety of environmental organizations around the world, each of them united in the goal of protecting our planet. From our nominating partners to global organizations to grassroots NGOs led by Prize winners, they are all essential parts of the environmental community.

  • Amazon Watch logo
  • Rainforest Action Network logo
  • Amazon Conservation Team logo
  • The Rainforest Foundation UK logo
  • Borneo Project logo
  • Forest Peoples logo
  • Brainforest logo
  • Amazon Frontlines logo
  • Leuser Conservancy logo