IUCN accolade for Brazilian forest campaigner
12 September 2012 | Article
Germano Woehl has travelled from the Atlantic Forests of Brazil to a Korean island to receive recognition for his action to save forests.
He was born in northern Santa Catarina, a State which had 75% of its area covered with forest until the early 1990s. Today, his home faces intensive deforestation and people’s lack of awareness.
Germano started photographing deforested areas and filing complaints to federal and state environmental agencies, as well as the courts. After much insistence, Santa Catarina witnessed for the first time the presence of inspectors from IBAMA, the federal environmental agency.
Listen to Germano's reflection about the Forest Law latest debate in Brazil, in Portuguese.
Along with his wife, Elza Nishimura Woehl, Germano began to work in environmental education. They gave lectures in schools and guided students in education activities, with nature interpretation trails in the Rã-bugio Sanctuary, now incorporated as a Private Natural Heritage Reserve.
With other passionate friends he funded the Instituto Rã-bugio para Conservação da Biodiversidade, an NGO which works mostly in environmental education:
Listen Elza's reflection about the importance of environmental education, in Portuguese.
With his savings, Woehl has purchased part of the preserved areas to turn them into a Private Natural Heritage Reserve. The remaining resources came from donations from Brazilians and a project of the IUCN’s Netherlands Committee. The area is well preserved, and a great part is comprised of primary forests, hosting dozens of endangered species of plants and animals.
The Luc Hoffmann Award is given by the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management (CEM). Luc Hoffman is the largest owner/share holder of Hoffmann/Laroche, a Swiss pharmaceutical company. Luc is an inspirational nature conservationist spending millions of Euros every year on nature conservation at the large ecosystem level, in particular in the Alps, the Mediterranean and the West-African Coast.