Brazil nut tree, Brazil.
Marco Simola / Center for International Forestry Research / Flickr

Brazil-watchers preoccupied with the rocky run-up to the World Cup may have missed a recent move as smart and graceful as any you’ll see on a soccer pitch -- one that sealed a huge win not just for Brazilians but for everyone on Earth.

On May 21, the Brazilian government and its partners secured financing for the Amazon Region Protected Areas, or ARPA. This project is the largest tropical forest conservation effort in history; at 150 million acres, it will preserve an area three times larger than all of the U.S. national parks combined. Further, with innovative funding from across several countries and sectors, ARPA could become the first effort to permanently protect these vast swaths of rainforest, of which an area the size of Afghanistan has been destroyed since 1970.

The story begins in 1998, when Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso pledged to triple the size of the Brazilian Amazon under

This article is part of our premium archives.

To continue reading and get full access to our entire archive, you must subscribe.

  • CARTER ROBERTS is President and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, which has partnered with Brazil on ARPA since the program’s inception.
  • More By Carter Roberts