IUCN Director General, Julia Marton-Lefevre, has accepted the role of ambassador for a major art installation called “Ghost Forest”, by British artist Angela Palmer.
Ghost Forest consists of 10 primary rainforest tree stumps which were brought to Europe from a commercially logged forest in Western Africa. The work is intended “…to highlight the alarming depletion of the world’s natural resources, and in particular the continued rate of deforestation, …which impacts upon climate, biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous people”, Palmer explains.
According to the artist, the trees in Ghost Forest – most of which fell naturally in storms – represent rainforest trees worldwide; the absence of their trunks is presented as a metaphor for the removal of the world’s lungs caused through the loss of our forests.
The tree stumps were exhibited as a “ghost forest” in Trafalgar Square in London last November, and then in Copenhagen in December during the UN’s Climate Change Conference. In July this year Ghost Forest will be exhibited for a year on the lawn of Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The exhibition will coincide with the Museum of Natural History’s 150th anniversary this year, and the UN’s International Year of Biodiversity.
In 2011 it is the UN’s International Year of Forests.
Julia Morton-Lefevre commended the project for its raising of awareness on the plight and roles of the rainforests:
“The Ghost Forest is excellent in sensitising the public on the vulnerability of our environment. Even for those who have never been to a tropical forest, just seeing those tree ghosts touches hearts and minds and hopefully encourages positive action. We all need those forests to be strong and healthy, and the inspiration of this project should move us to think about the consequences of our lifestyles and our political actions.”
Ghost Forest is a carbon neutral project, offset by an environmental initiative through Climate Care.
For more information and to view pictures and videos on ghost forest, go to www.ghostforest.org .
To learn more about IUCN's work on forest conservation, go to www.iucn.org/forest .