Voices of the Forest: A Shifting Approach to Community Forestry
Date: 02 August 2010more information
The beauty of Africa’s wilderness sometimes depends on the most delicate relationships. A close look at how one creature’s behavior starts off a critical chain of events, uncovers an incredible tale of drama and intrigue.
Competing for the title of ‘nature’s oddest couple,’ the sycamore fig tree and the miniscule fig wasp share a curious and important co-dependency—a relationship whose influence extends out widely across the African bush and supports hundreds of plants and animals.
Shot with extraordinary care and patience, the film reveals a surprising tale of survival within the microcosm of a single fig. The filmmakers spent more than two years documenting the intimate details of fig wasps living, mating and dying inside figs. Despite being one of the smallest creatures, this story of the wasps proves to be as large as the grandeur of Africa itself.
This is the story of how we have struggled to make sense of the enormity and complexity of the Amazon rainforest. Using key animals such as jaguar, leaf-cutting ant, giant otter and the fresh-water stingray, we show how we have turned past fears of the hostile and impenetrable jungle into an understanding of its unrivaled biodiversity. We discover that the forest is not just the result of millions of years of evolution. Its richness stems from struggle, upheaval and a remarkable event, the geologic uplift of the Andes, which changed the course of the Amazon River itself.
Using stunning visual content to transport the audience deep into the beating heart of the rainforest, Amazon Alive is a remarkable journey into a world which seems far away, but which influences every breath we take. Marveling at the spectacular and bizarre wildlife and sensing the richness and complexity of local cultures, we appreciate how this magnificent forest plays such a central role in the planet’s cooling system. (43 mins)
An African peasant farmer has managed what so many others failed to do: transform the lives of thousands of people by making the desert bloom again. Discover the untold story of Yacouba Sawadogo, an illiterate African farmer who battled for two decades with nature and man to become a pioneer in the fight against desertification. Perfectly pitched cinematography engages beautifully with a story that will leave you moved and inspired.
Yacouba resurrected an ancient planting technique known as ”zai,” using traditional planting pits. He hacked into the hard-baked earth and filled the pits with compost. In the region, tens of thousands of hectares of land that was completely unproductive have been made fertile again. Yacouba has reversed the process of desertification in the deforested and drought-ridden Sahel, a belt up to 1,000km wide, spanning Africa from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. This story is a reminder that determined individuals can at least slow down the steamroller of environmental destruction across the planet. (64 mins)
Can you imagine what it would be like to have your home torn down around you and destroyed? It’s a horrible thought, but that’s exactly what is happening in forests around the world. With an area of forest the size of a football field being destroyed every two seconds, endangered species such as gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees are at risk of extinction within our lifetimes. This Greenpeace film shows all too clearly what this means. Told with the voices of Sir David Attenborough, Ewan McGregor and actor Andy Serkis, it is a stark reminder of what we stand to lose if we aren’t able to save our ancient forests now, while there is still time. (3 mins)
Did you know that most toilet paper comes from trees? Switch Today is a public service announcement about the environmental impact of toilet paper. The project was created using frame-by-frame stop-motion animation over approximately six months. Only recycled toilet paper was used in the making of this piece. (1 min)
In the forests of the Russian Far East, an inexperienced and foolhardy young poacher triggers an infamous series of attacks on people. The authorities call on the services of Yuri Trush, a specialist in tracking and eliminating tigers that have lost their fear of man.
Conflict Tiger takes Yuri’s most notorious pursuit of a ‘man-eating’ tiger as the basis for an environmental documentary thriller, exploring increasingly confrontational relations and shared destiny between tigers and people. From the aftermath of this epic confrontation, the film emerges as a parable which challenges the cozy illusions of the traditional “big cat” natural history by setting the animal’s precarious situation against the pressing needs of human survival. Nominated for ‘Best International Environmental Film of the Decade’ at The
Green Globe Awards in Los Angeles, the film inspired John Vaillant’s new work of non-fiction ‘The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance & Survival.’ (64 mins)
Vast, primeval forests once stretched across almost all of Northern Europe. In the 1st Century, the Roman author Tacitus claimed the trees were so huge that the legionnaires could ride underneath the roots. Centuries of development have destroyed most of these forests, but some ancient woodland has survived. Green monuments to a forgotten age, they offer a glimpse into a distant world. In this high definition special, we delve deep into these ecosystems and explore the complex balance of flora and fauna that maintains them.
The temperate forest of Northern and Central Europe is home to an abundance of wildlife. It is a stage for wild dramas, from the fierce fighting of the boar, the rutting season of the red deer, to the playing of the fox cubs and the nocturnal hunt of the eagle owl. The full range of large and charismatic mammals and birds are captured in Kingdom of the Forest, with fascinating insights into hunting, reproduction and other behavior. Kingdom of the Forest also explores the hidden elements of the woodlands, using long term time lapse, super slow-motion and extreme macro photography. Incredible footage of plant life through the seasons brings the spectacular yearly cycle to life. (50 mins)
On China’s Loess Plateau, an area the size of Belgium has been successfully restored over ten years. A barren, brown landscape has been brought back to life; a people entrenched in back-breaking poverty now work, farm, herd and live in a functioning, green ecosystem where rainfall infiltrates, water is retained and crops are readied for export.
Climate change is not an isolated, discrete challenge. It is, on the contrary, at the nexus of how human behavior is altering the fundamental cycles of nature that have enabled our planet to emerge over geologic time from a cosmic boulder surrounded by toxic gases to the blue planet teeming with life. Framed this way, new solutions emerge about how to address the challenge of climate change.
There is compelling evidence all around the world that if we understand ecosystem function then we don’t have to degrade it. Research and documentation show that soil moisture, relative humidity, temperature, microclimates and soil fertility are dynamic and human actions significantly determine whether these are lost or accumulate. By understanding the scientific principles that regulate the water cycle, biomass, biodiversity and accumulated organic matter it is possible to maintain healthy ecosystems. (28 mins)
They are living giants, one of Earth’s largest and oldest trees. Some tower more than 350 feet high, taller than the Statue of Liberty; some may have been seedlings when Jesus was born. Yet, these natural legends still shroud centuries-old secrets.
Climbing Redwood Giants reveals the little-explored environment of the redwoods using high-tech aerial laser surveys and breathtaking imagery. Humboldt State University’s, Steve Sillett, the first researcher to explore the redwood canopy, discovered the canopy contained a hidden world of trees growing within trees, fern gardens growing on soil mats the size of a bus, and a mysterious salamander as top predator. Sillett tallied every speck of biological stuff from ground to crown in one plot of redwood forest. His patch contains more biological material by far than any other measured patch of the planet.
As Sillett investigates redwoods up in their towering crowns, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Mike Fay, is charting the entire redwood range on the ground, step by step, on an epic year- long journey to get a sense of the past, and future, of the world’s most awe-inspiring living things. (52 mins)
Green examines the industries destroying the Indonesian forest and unravels the hypocrisy behind seemingly “green” bio-diesel made from palm oil. Green is a female orangutan, and a victim of deforestation in Indonesia.
As she lies on a hospital bed, Green seems to understand all that has happened to her: the destruction of her habitat and her species and of all the wildlife with which she shared her forest. The film is an emotional journey through the orangutan’s final days, transporting the viewer from the luxuriance of the rainforest to the nightmare of its complete annihilation.
The poetic edit of the film without narration contrasts with the images of a harsh reality. Green is, ultimately, a denunciation of consumerism and race for profit, an invitation to measure our share of responsibility and to act accordingly. The film is an attempt to plant a seed of altruism in the hearts of people in the hope that it can make a difference before it is too late. (48 mins)
This poetic documentary is set on the diminutive Caribbean island of Dominica. It is the portrait of Jerry Maka West. He is a simple man, a Nom Tèw, Creole for a man of the soil. Juxtaposed with the hustle and bustle of city life on Dominica, Jerry Maka West works his garden in the island’s lush interior, his Zion, growing and preparing his food just as his grandparents once taught him. The complexities of the modern world pass him by as he skips in and out of it, circling around it, never really being drawn into it, preferring instead to live close to nature and to work hard putting just as much in as he takes out. In harmony with a living earth, a nature island, Jerry Maka West lives the kind of life most of his contemporaries have forsaken, yet many would no doubt envy in a world that has become a confusion of questionable priorities and trivia.
The film was entirely shot in two days with a crew of four, in completely natural conditions. “It was a blessing to be accepted in Jerry Maka West’s difficult and lonely life,” said director Pierre Deschamps. “I hope that I have portrayed it well.” (7 mins)
Forests are vital for the 1.7 billion local and indigenous people who depend on them for their livelihoods and sometimes for their very survival. By placing local people at the heart of forest decision-making and forest management, community forestry can make forest management a reality. In many countries community forestry has successfully reversed forest destruction and helped harness the full value of forest benefits. History shows that failures in forest protection and biodiversity most often occur where local people’s needs, aspirations, skills and knowledge are ignored.
This six-minute short tells the story of the village of Pred Nai (Trat), which is hailed as a success in fighting for the right to manage their own forest, in this case one of Thailand’s last remaining mangrove ecosystems. The locals took their battle to the highest level and drove out developers. Since then, the community has organized to conserve its mangroves, with everyone taking part in making the decisions that impact their livelihoods. Now, as the warriors of 20 years ago are passing the baton to a new generation, how do they see their future? (6 mins)