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ECWG Virtual Meeting: Conserving the Amazon: Success and Challenges by Margaret (Meg) Symington

June 13, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Explorers Club Members, Associates/Friends, Members’ Guests and Non-Members’ Guest List You are cordially invited to the June 2020 ECWG virtual via Zoom.

About the Presentation

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and river system, containing a tenth of the world’s species; over 2,000 new species of plants and vertebrates have been described since 1999. Water vapor released from the forest creates vast “flying rivers” in the atmosphere influencing rainfall in central and southern South America, and the carbon stored in vegetation and soils is of global importance in slowing climate change. The river network is the lifeblood of the regional economy, providing for food, energy production, transportation, and other vital services. While containing many different ecosystems, the Amazon forms a single ecological functioning entity, and its many parts depend on the integrity of the whole. It is home to 34 million people including over 350 indigenous groups, some living in voluntary isolation. Although about 17 per cent of the forest has been destroyed, large areas remain in their near-natural condition. The values of the Amazon, and the practical as well as ethical reasons for its conservation and sustainable management, are clear.

However, the Amazon is undergoing rapid change; short-sighted and unsustainable development plans are threatening the integrity of the ecosystem, its constituent species and the astonishing array of local and global goods and services that it provides. In this presentation I will discuss the major threats the region is facing and some of the most effective strategies that are being used to confront those threats and ensure the survival of the Amazon.

About our speaker

Margaret (Meg) Symington began her career in conservation studying tropical ecology and primate behavior in the Peruvian Amazon, carrying out the first ever long-term field study on the black spider monkey in Manu National Park.  After completing her doctorate, she served as an environmental advisor in the Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean at the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has experience designing and implementing conservation and natural resources management projects for forest and freshwater ecosystems in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina and Haiti. Dr. Symington received her B.A. in biology with honors from Yale University and her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from Princeton University. She is currently Senior Director for the Amazon at World Wildlife Fund. In her current role, Dr. Symington is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of programs to ensure the long-term sustainability of protected area systems in Brazil, Peru and Colombia.

How to Attend

This presentation will be given on the Zoom platform. Access will be mailed to all members. For help using Zoom please see this post: 

Zoom Meeting Instructions


June 13, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm