University professor Wangari Maathai, seeing the destruction caused by deforestation and desertification in her country, forms the Green Belt Movement after planting a nursery of trees in her back garden. She also begins campaigning to preserve African forests. Despite repeated persecution, she and the movement have so far enabled poor women in Kenya and all over East Africa to plant over 20 million trees, both combating soil erosion and creating a sustainable source of fuelwood, fruit and timber. The movement has spread internationally and, in 2004, Maathai was the first African woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
After fires destroy forests around their home village, Monir Bu Ghanem and four young friends from Ramlieh village in Lebanon dedicate themselves to preventing and fighting fires, planting trees and protecting forests. This group has grown into a national youth action organization, the Association for Forest Development and Conservation, which also promotes old-growth forest conservation, ecotourism and environmental education - and in 2006 provided shelter for refugees fleeing the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah.
Julia Butterfly Hill climbs a 600-year-old, 55-metre-tall coast redwood tree, staying in it for two years in a vigil that would ultimately save the tree and a small area of old-growth forest around it from commercial logging, bringing the plight of the forest to national attention.
In her first year of practice as a lawyer, Anne Kajir succeeds in forcing logging companies to pay damages to indigenous peoples in Papua New Guinea. She has continued to fight for the forests ever since - despite being physically attacked more than once - exposing widespread corruption which is allowing illegal logging to destroy the last remaining intact block of tropical rainforest in the Asia-Pacific region.
Rodolfo Montiel Flores, a subsistence farmer in Mexico's Guerrero State, founds a peasants' movement to try to stop logging from devastating the area. In the following year, he and a colleague were arrested, imprisoned and extensively tortured. In 2000 he won a Goldman Award*, sparking an international campaign to have the two men released. They finally gained their freedom in 2001.
Fatima Jibrell leads a march to stop acacia trees being felled and turned into charcoal for export from Somalia, then an anarchic country ruled by warlords. Despite repeated threats, she succeeded in persuading the Government of the Somali region of Puntland to ban the exports. Today, she and her colleagues promote solar cookers to eliminate the domestic use of charcoal.
Tree sitters climb into platforms in Eucalyptus regnans trees 65 metres off the ground to protect Tasmania's old-growth Styx forest from being logged. Five months later, the Tasmanian Government promised to protect 18,700 hectares of trees.
* Wangari Maathai, Alexander Peal, Fatima Jibrell, and Anne Kajir have also won Goldman Awards.