Conservationists Honored for Shaping the Future of Our Forests

The National Geographic Society and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation honor conservationists who help shape the future of our planet. In 2016, we honor Makala Jasper and Victor Zambrano.

Makala Jasper co-founded Mpingo Conservation & Development Initiative (MCDI), an Tanzania-based nongovernmental organization that develops sustainable community-led forestry practices. MCDI uses a grassroots approach, which enables local people to benefit economically from sustainably managing their forests. This helps to ensure sustainable timber harvesting in the region’s precious forests while supporting communities through economic opportunities. The project has protected more than a thousand square miles of forestland and improved the livelihoods of local community members.

Victor Zambrano founded the K'erenda Homet Private Conservation Concession in Amazonian Peru to combat illegal mining and logging and to rebuild destroyed ecosystems. He single-handedly reforested a section of land, planting more than 19,000 trees made up of more than 120 species. The site has since boomed into a biodiversity hot spot, spawning new soils, plant species, and precious wildlife. K'erenda Homet has brought opportunities for research, ecotourism, and community education and serves as a model for the region.