SAVING FRAGILE ECOSYSTEMS
Guardians of forests and waterways are finding inspiring ways to conserve the Earth's bio-sphere and improve the lives of the world's poorest people.
Introduction by Simon Stuart

Life on earth is a complex set of delicately balanced ecosystems. In some ways, it represents a house of cards. Almost every one of the millions of uniquely patterned cards supports others. Some are beautiful and others are plain. Regardless of where they sit or how they look, they are all connected.

Humanity sits proudly at the top of this house. Below us are the millions of unique species – plants, animals, fungi, and others – which all have a role in supporting us. From time to time a species dies out from, for example, disease, decreasing habitat, or human use. Every time this happens, our world is weakened.

Occasionally an ecosystem collapses with dramatic effects. This process is speeding up. Scientists and concerned individuals are hard at work finding out as much as they can about the natural world. The more we learn, the more clearly we can see what must be done. Rolex, through its Awards for Enterprise, supports this critical work to protect the precious flora and fauna upon which our world is built.

Simon Stuart is the Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission.

Greatest hope for ape conservation

Published in 2010

Jo Thompson, 2004 Associate Laureate

Turning poachers into guardians

Published in 2006

Pilai Poonswad, 2006 Laureate

Turning poachers into guardians

After rediscovering a species of hornbill thought to be extinct, microbiologist Pilai Poonswad set about turning former poachers and illegal loggers into protectors of these glorious birds.

Seahorse power

Seahorse power

Published in 2004

Amanda Vincent, 1998 Laureate

From her initial fascination with the seahorse and its highly unusual breeding cycle, Canadian Amanda Vincent has become a key figure in global action to save the wider marine environment.

View Laureates working to preserve fragile ecosystems