2015 Photo Competition

Meet our 2015 photo competition judges

Clement-Chenost
Nathan Dappen
Dan Lert
Dan Lert
Susan
Susan Onyango
Eko
Eko Prianto
Pilar Valbuena
Pilar Valbuena

We put out a call to the world to send us images of landscape connections. Here is the full collection of photographs entered into the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum Photo Competition, from which the jury and voters selected their winners.

Sweet lost
Photo by Giulia Sbrizza
On the slopes of the Little Dolomites, the inhabitants Recoaro Terme run the territory according to tradition: their cattle grazes in the meadows near their houses and they obtain wood from the surrounding forests. Tradition meets innovation as families organize activities to promote knowledge of life in the farm.
Vote count:  121
Baboon
Photo by Mohamed Shebl
The mountains in the Al-Baha region in Saudi Arabia are home to baboons, which have lost fear of humans over the past 15 years because they started being fed by them. Since then, baboons have been raiding nearby towns and villages, stealing food and destroying farmers’ crops.
Vote count:  161
Salt of the Earth
Photo by Janina Grabs
By using the sun to evaporate saltwater, Cambodian salt farmers use the land surrounding the Kampot province to produce salt for local consumption. This economic activity sustains the local community.
Vote count:  10
Water storage system
Photo by Shehzaad Maroof
Rain and spring water has been manipulated flow into two steel water tanks in Dunga Gali, Pakistan. Although these were constructed almost a century ago, they still supply water to Murree, one of the most visited resorts of the country.
Vote count:  18
Spring Thaw in Kotzebue
Photo by Evan Watson
The spring thaw has already begun, as a dog sled glides across the frozen lagoon once last time before summer. For the Iñupiat, an indigenous people of northwestern Alaska, climate change looms large—threatening to break a millennia-old culture and end the Iñupiat’s traditional lifestyle.
Vote count:  13
Mangroves
Photo by Maria Holzinger
Mangroves are amongst the most threatened ecosystems on Earth due to deforestation and land-use changes. These species play an essential role in climate change mitigation in views of rising sea levels and accelerated erosion, as well as sustaining very biodiverse fauna and flora. Mangrove forests also have one of the largest carbon storing capacity per unit in the world.
Vote count:  28
A day’s collection
Photo by Puranjit Gangopadhyay
In rural areas of India, women are the main collectors of firewood. They carry the heavy logs and branches themselves until they reach their homes. This energy source is very popular in rural areas, mostly because of its low cost.
Vote count:  10
Beach gone
Photo by Adeolu Adeniyi
In Lagos, Nigeria, a beach that used to be a major tourist attraction has been shut down due to several cases of wastewater overflow. Rather than being maintained and managed, it has gradually become a hub for street vendors.
Vote count:  1173
Running out of water
Photo by André Hemelrijk
In Gers, France, an irrigation reservoir supplies water to a monocultural field. Here, the economy revolts mainly around agriculture and culinary tourism.
Vote count:  8
Llama race
Photo by Eric Chavez
During a traditional festival, a llama race is held at 4100 metres above sea level in Ninacaca, Perú. Domesticated by the inhabitants of the Andes for many centuries, these sturdy camelids are mainly used as pack animals. Their ancestral presence is deeply rooted in the local identity.
Vote count:  19
Shadow land
Photo by Amanda Royce-Hale
A rare foggy moment in the 1500-acre Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa. This park is managed by the Des Moines Water Works and Water Works Foundation, both of which work towards promoting effective water protection and conservation in the midst of a heavily farmed state.
Vote count:  61
Deforestation log pond
Photo by Samson Adetona
A portion of the Lagos Lagoon serves as a natural log pond to store the Oko-Baba sawmill’s unprocessed logs. Because of the lack of water outflow, the constant supply of log debris allows log ponds to accumulate large percentages of organic matter.
Vote count:  143
Woman at work
Photo by Ketut Arnaya
Balinese woman in Denpasar harvests her rice paddy. In Indonesia, especially in Bali, women are partially responsible for sustaining their families economically: besides being housewives, they are involved in various work fields.
Vote count:  99
In the middle of the game
Photo by Icaro Cooke
The Madre de Deus water transportation terminal in Bahia is the island archipelago where oil is shipped to the northern and northeastern part of the country. This area has been affected by major oil spills in 1992, which threaten both the sustainability of the landscape as well as the lives of those who live in it.
Vote count:  192
The ladder to Heaven
Photo by Chi Keung Wong
In the Chinese mountainous province of Guizhou, the scarcity of arable land has resulted in rice-terrace agriculture, where Dong’s ‘rice-fish-duck’ system has been used for thousands of years. This production and land use model saves land resources while by providing multiple goods and services.
Vote count:  8
The Effect of Climate Change
Photo by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
A young girl digs up salt water-saturated soil, hoping to find fuelwood. Two years after the Cyclone Alia, which struck in May 2009, the communities along Bangladesh’s southwest coastline still struggled to rebuild their lives.
Vote count:  30
Save the forest together
Photo by Jonathan Guyot
The Much Kanan Ka’ax natural protected area, which in Mayan means ‘Save the forest together’, preserves 1200 hectares of forest the Yucatán Peninsula. Its main aim is to preserve and restore forest ecosystem services to ensure water and biodiversity conservation.
Vote count:  69
Man in the eye of an elephant
Photo by Brigitte Uttar Kornetzky
Wild elephants in the Nilgiri Mountains in India are losing their original territory. As they look for somewhere to settle, some of them suffer accidents while climbing steep and rocky hills, and others raid fields and ruin farmers’ crops.
Vote count:  669
River Indus
Photo by Shehzaad Maroof
The Indus River supplies water to different areas of Pakistan, India and Tibet. Over the last few years, factories on the river banks have significantly polluted the water, which along with extensive deforestation in the area have started to affect the vegetation and wildlife on the river delta, such as the endangered Indus River dolphin.
Vote count:  16
Health Harvest
Photo by Ethel Magaya
A Zimbabwean community harvests butternut squash, which is gaining importance in sub-Saharan African diets due to its early maturity, and ability to tolerate harsh environmental conditions. In Africa, the key to achieving the poverty reduction and food security could potentially be done through agriculture.
Vote count:  21
A harmonious landscape in the China mountains
Photo by Olivier Rousselle
In the Tengchong Hot Spring Park, in China, local communities have lived from the forest since the beginning of time, which provides them with fish, wood and pure air and water. Now, sustainable tourism is also an important part of the landscape.
Vote count:  31
Quechua farmers and climate change
Photo by Manon Koningsten
A Quechua farmer in the Sacred Valley in Peru explains how climate change is affecting the cultivation of their crops, like the native potato. Due to this, farmers need to plant each time higher up in the mountains every year.
Vote count:  27
Dry river sunrise
Photo by Michael Fuller
Australia is the driest continent on Earth, and waterways like these in the Kakadu National Park which overflow in the wet season leave only a faint trace during the dry months. Climate change will continue to worsen Australia’s extremes of wet and dry; yet despite abundant alternative energy resources, it is one of the countries that contribute the most to greenhouse gas emissions.
Vote count:  27
Bamboo harvesting in Myanmar
Photo by Ana Caroline de Lima
Every day, men and women from the indigenous Chin tribe in Myanmar harvest bamboo in government-owned land close to the Lemro River. The surrounding area, once a dense forest, now displays an increasing number of bamboo plantations as well as small wooden houses.
Vote count:  10
Passing
Photo by Ricky Martin
The villagers of Kenasau traverse a small stream in the Sentarum National Park forest in West Kalimantan. The Kalimantan forests are increasingly being threatened by illegal logging and forest fires, which reduce their capacities to provide ecosystem services such as the provision of clean water.
Vote count:  16
Peke-peke
Photo by Michael Langford
Dwarfed by the surrounding Peruvian Amazon landscape, a peke-peke makes its way upriver into the Tambopata National Reserve. The economical & reliable peke-peke boat, named after the sound made by its air-cooled motor, is the backbone of community ecotourism projects in the Amazon. Such responsible tourism projects sustainably manage large areas of environmentally, socially & culturally important rainforest while providing income & ensuring its future protection.
Vote count:  57
The Guardian of Palcacocha
Photo by Niels Ackermann
In the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca, Juan Victor Morales monitors Lake Palcacocha’s siphons, looking for a leak. These plastic pipes are the only way of stopping the lake’s continuous growth (due to melting glaciers) from burying the city of Huaraz with mudslides.
Vote count:  53
A Nepalese farming landscape
Photo by Asmita Nagila
The mountainous district of Lamjung, Nepal, is characterized by steep slopes, extreme climate, and slopes dissected by rivers. Farmers are not only challenged by the defying landscape; the climate, on which they depend to grow their crops, has begun changing too.
Vote count:  19
Meat on rice
Photo by Michael Fuller
A water buffalo outside Sapa wanders through a watery landscape of terraced rice paddies. Vietnam is the world’s second largest exporter of rice, a grain they call the ‘gift from God’. But in recent years, droughts have disrupted Vietnamese production by up to 25% — threatening the livelihoods and food security of millions.
Vote count:  29
Salinas salt farmer
Photo by Michael Fuller
A Peruvian woman in Salinas de Maras in Cusco uses groundwater to harvest salt. The farming method, and even the cooperative management system amongst the farmers, have remained unchanged since they were developed centuries ago by her ancestors, the Incas.
Vote count:  42
Ninth wonder of the world
Photo by Shehzaad Maroof
What was originally a portion of the ancient Silk Road that connected Pakistan and China has now become the Karakoram Highway, which means ‘crumbling rock’ in Turkish. Besides giving advantages to the local economy, it has opened a door to those interested in adventure tourism, giving cyclists and mountaineers an easier access to the glaciers and lakes in the high mountains of the area.
Vote count:  16
Quinoa mono crops
Photo by María Alejandra Escalante
The international quinoa boom has driven Bolivian and Peruvian agricultural communities to expand their production, surpassing historical records. Most of the quinoa production is now exported, taking away a traditional food staple from the rural population and making it less economically accessible as its prices also rise.
Vote count:  18
Smiling child in Tsiribihina River
Photo by Elena Skalovskaia
Out in the Tsiribihina River’s sand banks, children still enjoy the company of herons, parrots, insects and butterflies. Climate change and the pollution from industrialization and irresponsible tourism have begun to threaten both.
Vote count:  21
Balaton sunset
Photo by Péter Garamszegi
The landscape of the Balaton Uplands in Hungary has been formed by nature and humans for many years. For centuries, the lake has provided locals with fish, water and construction material. Today, it continues to contribute to the local peoples’ livelihoods, though mostly through tourism.
Vote count:  9
Community collaboration to fight climate change
Photo by Manon Koningstein
Men and women working together on a community demonstration plot in Lushoto, Tanzania.
As gender equality is one of the main sustainable development goals, this Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) demonstration plot provides knowledge on CSA technologies and practices for both men and women to have an equal chance to prepare for the consequences of climate change.
Vote count:  14
Navigating the new Amazonia
Photo by Daniel Cruz
The Amazon River and its ecosystems have been seen from a romantic perspective of pristine environments and isolated communities. However, some areas in the Amazonia are nowadays comprised by increasing populations, globalized societies and ecosystems in transformation.
Vote count:  13
A chalet in mountain ecosystems
Photo by Olivier Rousselle
A chalet faces Mont Blanc’s snowy peaks. These mountainous ecosystems provide clean water and allow people to live. However, due to climate change, the Alps’ glaciers are retreating and forcing vegetation to change.
Vote count:  33
Relaxation in Landscape
Photo by Mohammadreza Davari
Green areas provide people with a fresh atmosphere to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Vote count:  154
Communities, livelihoods and ecosystems in a changing climate
Photo by Monica Coll Besa
In the Uluguru Mountains in Tanzania, the Walguru community farmers are causing rapid land-use changes due to activities such as slash and burn agriculture and felling trees for timber. This has caused the walking distance to collect firewood, wild fruits, and agriculture produce to increase, implying that there is less time available to spend on household activities such as education.
Vote count:  32
A day in Manzanilla
Photo by Kaleigh John
Over the past year, the sea in the island of Trinidad has attempted to reclaim the coastline, causing million-dollar damages. However, very little is done to prevent coastal erosion.
Vote count:  5
Yubeng
Photo by Coline Boonman
The remote village of Yubeng, China is home to around 20 families. Since their farming does not suffice for everyone, the community depends on the supplies brought to them by horses, donkeys and motorcycles. Climate change aggravates this dependency.
Vote count:  34
Mountains and ponds
Photo by Chi Keung Wong
Rice paddies consume high volumes of water in Guangxi, China. Here, the traditional practices used to farm rice lack sustainable and innovative methods to reduce water waste and increase the low yields.
Vote count:  8
Livelihoods
Photo by Romy Chevallier
A fisherman in the Okavango Delta heads back home with his daily catch. Like many who live in the vicinity of protected areas, the inhabitants of the Okavango Delta depend directly on the area’s resources to subsist.
Vote count:  12
Mystic Austrian landscape: from hills to Alps
Photo by Alice Cosatti
The eastern Styria landscape in Austria has been formed by farmers and foresters for many years. However, due to increasing rural flight, many farming practices have been discontinued, and forests are slowly covering the land again.
Vote count:  63
No trees, no rain, no life
Photo by André Hemelrijk
Deforestation leaves the soil vulnerable to erosion, threatening civilizations’ security. The nutrient cycle is also disrupted, as the nutrients from the trees that would otherwise enrich the soil are taken elsewhere.
Vote count:  12
Quechua porter
Photo by Jelle Canipel
Most of the Quechua indigenous people who live in the Peruvian Andes rely on subsistence farming, but the harsh conditions (poor soil, strong winds and cold weather) difficult the task. Nowadays, many of the mountainous traditional values are being lost as the Quechuas migrate to Lima in search for a ‘better’ lifestyle.
Vote count:  33
Floodplain edge, edge of life
Photo by Lin Cassidy
An elephant wades along the edge of a seasonal floodplain in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. The elephant’s existence is becoming increasingly fragile, becoming a symbol of the importance of conserving wild landscapes that can accommodate large, free-ranging wildlife populations.
Vote count:  259
Feeding body and soul
Photo by Lin Cassidy
For many visitors, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is an iconic wilderness area, home to wildlife species, like the rhino. But for local residents, its natural resources are the foundation of their livelihoods. Here, a fisherman looks up from his catch to admire the beauty of the sunset.
Vote count:  283
Senegalese rice farmers
Photo by Maria Holzinger
Two young men in Casamance, Senegal, stand on their rice field, waiting for the rain to come. Globally, agriculture accounts for over 30% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, large disparities are concealed behind this idea. Small-holder farmers who have contributed little or nothing to it, are amongst those most affected by climate change.
Vote count:  6
The sea lion king
Photo by Nadia Aguirre
A dominant male sea lion defends his harem and territory in San Gallán Island, in Peru’s Paracas National Reserve. Although this natural protected area was designated to preserve the Pacific marine ecosystem, the sea lion populations are increasingly being exposed to tourists as well as surfers. Though penalized by the law, the latter sometimes venture to set foot on the shore, altering the animals’ behaviour while exposing themselves to danger.
Vote count:  26
Agriculture and deforestation
Photo by Jonathan Guyot
Although agriculture is a key driver of deforestation, it remains an important activity for the Mayan local communities of the Yucatán Peninsula. To combat deforestation, it is essential to find alternatives for more sustainable agricultural production.
Vote count:  49
Landscape watching
Photo by Mohammadreza Davari
Mountain watching as an eco-friendly practice in the German Alps can bring together people and nature without causing it any harm.
Vote count:  93
MianShan Buddhist remoteness
Photo by Antonis Stylianou
At 2500 meters high, Mianshan’s steep precipices and majestic mountains have increasingly drawn tourists towards it during the last few years. Buddhist temples and historic revolutionary sites also compose this scenery, showing how architecture— and people— have adapted to this abrupt landscape.
Vote count:  19
The farmer
Putu Agung Wiaskara
Over 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed in Asia— and Solok in West Sumatra is no exception. Here, an increased use of chemical fertilizers and insecticides impact greatly on human health and the environment, especially when washed away with the rain.
Vote count:  19
Cederberg mountain farm house
Photo by Jonas Geschke
The valley surrounding the Cederberg mountains is used to farm citrus, wine grapes and much more during the right seasons. The mountains’ clean air and rugged peaks also provide the only conditions in the world for Rooibos to grow; a plant with powerful antioxidants.
Vote count:  33
On top
Photo by Emil Platzer
The Hohe Tauern National Park has been shaped by glaciers for thousands of years, and by farmers and their livestock for hundreds. Though harsh and almost inhospitable, it provides Austrian people with electricity, water, and food.
Vote count:  17
Agriculture on the slopes of Mount Elgon
Photo by Malte Peter Øhlers
The farmers on the slopes of Mount Elgon, Uganda are at the forefront of climate change; rising temperatures, pests and landslides are some of the consequences already felt. The community has started cooperative efforts to protect the local agro-ecological systems using agroforestry to increase the tree cover on the slopes; limiting erosion while increasing resilience, biodiversity and carbon sequestration.
Vote count:  11
Growing tea into the Wild
Photo by Brigitte Uttar Kornetzky
Tea plantations in the Nilgiri Mountains in India. Here, tea plantations are slowly pushing wildlife back, especially wild elephants.
Vote count:  111
All season farming
Photo by Shweta Adhikari
Even though Nepal is one of the richest countries in terms of sources of water, the agricultural sector faces significant challenges accessing it. In Indrayani, where this picture was taken, farmers still depend on precipitation to water their crops, resulting in a low productivity during the dry season.
Vote count:  30
The Decay
Photo by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
After prolonged droughts, major rivers in Bangladesh are eroding the riverbanks each time with more force. Here, a building structure is being brought down, as the Padma River is dangerously close.
Vote count:  13
Nieve
Photo by Nadia Aguirre
Only a few decades ago, the Nevado Verónica in the Andes Mountain Range was fully covered in snow. Most of the snowy peaks and glaciers in Perú have either started melting at an accelerated rate— some, like the Quelccaya Glacier, at the accelerated pace of 60 meters per year. It is estimated that Lima will be one of the first largest cities to run dry.
Vote count:  16
Plumber Boys
Photo by Kevin Midigo
Children attempt to fix a broken water line next to the polluted Nairobi River. Like in many other slums worldwide, Mukuru Kaiyaba’s water is often scarce, costly and contaminated by industrial effluence and raw sewage.
Vote count:  28
Palm tree and the clouds
Photo by Ajibola Ajibade
The obowo palm tree in southeastern Nigeria is used by the local inhabitants in many different ways. The palm kernel is used for oil production, the palm fronds are used as construction material, and even palm wine is produced, which is drank in times of celebration.
Vote count:  14
Fishing as a livelihood
Photo by Luke Smith
In Tobago, as in other coastal regions of the Caribbean, fishing is vital to many individuals’ livelihoods. However, small-scale fishing communities are faced with an increasing array of issues: the overexploitation and depletion of natural resources; rural to urban migration; the displacement due to industrial development and tourism pollution; environmental degradation and conflicts with large commercial fishing companies.
Vote count:  60
Monsoon remix
Photo by Joshua Nasielski
Powerful and immense, the presence or absence of the monsoon rains dictates rural life in Cambodia as the climate alternates annually between the wet and dry seasons: a continual monsoon remix. Yet climate change now calls into question the regularity of the monsoon rains, and with it, the food security of smallholder farmers and their families.
Vote count:  8
Livestock, main cause of deforestation
Photo by Jonathan Guyot
In the 1980s, the Yucatan Peninsula lost 30% of its forest cover due to unsustainable agricultural practices, like cattle ranching. This depletes the soil’s nutrients, leaving the land unfit for agriculture and other purposes.
Vote count:  39
Brilliant Amazon River
Photo by María Alejandra Escalante
REDD+ has commodified and logging companies have cut down large areas of the Amazonian forest, but the rivers in the Amazon River Basin shine strongly from above as a symbol of wise resilience.
Vote count:  14
Poisonous waters of Laguna Colorada
Photo by Ana Caroline de Lima
The multi-coloured salt lake of Laguna Colorada, in the southwestern Bolivian Andes, has patches of stunning red, green, white, and blue waters. These are poisonous to humans, but thrive in life with a bacteria that gives a reddish pigmentation to the the waters and to the Chilean flamingo, its only predator.
Vote count:  15
Past and present
Photo by Giulia Sbrizza
In the heart of Italy’s Val d’Aosta, Castle Montfleury, an ex-monastery, now serves as the Institut Agricole Régional. The school runs a barn where milk is processed into local Fontina cheese, cultivates agricultural adjacent land, grows several old varieties of apples, and produces honey.
Vote count:  127
Apatani Rice Field
Photo by Sirsendu Gayen
When it comes to rice cultivation, the Apatanis in Arunchal Pradesh have often been considered one of the most technology-advanced tribal societies in Northeastern India. These systems still preserve their traditional value, brought by many generations of experience.
Vote count:  10
The question of time
Photo by Brigitte Uttar Kornetzky
Members of an indigenous community in southwest India transport their sugar cane harvest in a traditional way: using bulls. This, along with the electrical industry in the area, have forced natural landscapes in the area to retreat.
Vote count:  106
Cocococha lake
Photo by Jelle Canipel
The Cocococha Lake deep in the Peruvian Tambopata National Reserve is home to many endangered and emblematic species. Aware of the habitat’s ecological importance, locals have developed a responsible ecotourism industry, which allows them to conserve the macaws, black caimans, toucans and giant river otters while generating income to sustain their communities.
Vote count:  31
Littering paradise
Ziadah
Indonesia’s Gili Trawagan is a well-known destination for tourists who seek a remote island experience— but this has begun to change, as it has slowly turned into a ‘party island’. The litter-cluttered sandy beaches and sea floor (as reported by divers) suggests that the island cannot cope with the rapid tourism growth.
Vote count:  76
Animals and elements in symbiosis: the Okavango Delta
Photo by Romy Chevallier
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is home to many vulnerable animal and plant species on Earth. As thehe Cubango-Okavango River Basin is shared by three riparian countries, the transboundary and integrated management of such a system is imperative to its protection and sustainability. Here, animal pathways, mainly of elephant and hippos, are changing the course of the river’s channels, as water seeks new directions on the floodplain.
Vote count:  12
Pucusana Fisherman
Photo by Héctor Cisneros Moncloa
A fisherman catches pejerrey with a net off the Peruvian coastline in Lima. Over ¾ of our planet is covered by oceans, which contain over 80% of all the life on Earth. Millions worldwide who depend on fishing for their daily livelihoods are threatened by overfishing.
Vote count:  760
Apatani Woman
Photo by Sirsendu Gayen
An Apatani woman farmer in Ziro cuts her rice paddy crops. Many rural indigenous communities in India do not have a strong formal right to their land; yet indigenous and local communities with clear and secure property rights are better able to conserve natural resources
Vote count:  18
Japan in the heart of the Banat
Photo by Viktor Krizik
This nature special reserve’s wetlands in Banat, Serbia are home to many species of rare birds that are under strict state protection. The area is monitored by cameras as well as guards who patrol the area on foot in order to keep poachers away.
Vote count:  8
A Path Through the Cederberg Mountains
Photo by Jonas Geschke
The Cederberg is a 100 km long mountain range, characterised by its spiky iron oxide-coloured sandstone formations. Roads provide connectivity and accessibility, but at the same time clash with nature scenes.
Vote count:  23
Glacier melting
Photo by Simone Cmoon
Just like most of the world’s glaciers, the Rhoneglacier in Switzerland is shrinking in size, forming lakes and flooding settlements in the process. But once the glaciers melt, many big cities will experiment water shortages.
Vote count:  35
Tifar
Photo by Briegel Bagenda
In the Indonesian Minahasan region, the fruits of the ‘seho’ palm tree are collected to prepare ‘saguer’, a traditional and popular drink served in times of celebration. Saguer is a sweet, white and pleasant drink. When fermented, it turns into a bitter-tasting beverage that is served as an alcoholic drink.
Vote count:  13
Loksado man
Photo by Ricky Martin
A bamboo raft crosses the river in Loksado, Kalimantan. The Loksado residents have found a way to share their culture with the world through ecotourism, which brings income to the community while keeping the environment healthy.
Vote count:  29
Artisanal fishing
Photo by Icaro Cooke
Artisanal fishermen in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro. Although it is responsible for 45% of the total annual fish production in Brazil, this activity lags behind in terms of technology, and artisanal fishermen are often excluded in key decision-making processes
Vote count:  249
Potato Ride
Photo by Kevin Midigo
Kenyan potato farmers are turning a bike race into a public relations opportunity. Potatoes are a staple in Kenya, second only to maize – yet, the people who grow them have a hard time accessing markets.
Vote count:  16
Smoky sunset
Photo by Lin Cassidy
Smoke from an uncontrolled bushfire darkens the sky and adds colour to the sunset in Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Indigenous people living here have always used fire to manage their land, and although the practice is now illegal, fires are still set.
Vote count:  243
Mana: the last Indian village
Photo by Anurag Dhyani
Mana is the closest Indian village to the Tibetan border, in the high Himalayas. Its inhabitants, people from the Bhotia and Marchha ethno-linguistic groups, have adapted to the high altitudes, landslides and low temperatures over centuries.
Vote count:  1990
The power of water and rocks
Photo by Ángel Sánchez Tapia
The San Rafael waterfall in Ecuador shows us how the force with which water drops can potentially be used to generate electricity without burning fossil fuels. This is precisely what the Ecuadorian government hopes to achieve by 2016, by opening 7-8 hydroelectric power plants.
Vote count:  19
Eighth wonder of the world
Photo by Kiran Nasir
The Karakoram Highway, one of the world’s highest paved international roads, connects China and Pakistan. Not only has its construction meant an easier access to markets for locals; it has also boosted adventure tourism, as 5 of the Eight-thousanders (peaks taller than 8000 metres) are accessible by the highway.
Vote count:  19
What is left
Photo by Diah Tantri
West Kalimantan’s Semenduk lake, part of the Dayak indigenous people’s home, used to be the breeding site for fish— an essential component of any fishermen’s life. Now, the lake has been turned into a landfill discharge of bauxite waste, and people are fighting to regain their rights on their ancestral lands and regenerating the ecosystem.
Vote count:  51
Fishing in paddy field
Photo by Amit Khanal
An elderly man fishes in the Nepalese paddy fields to contribute to his family’s nutritional needs. Many ethnic communities in are involved in this activity, which is also a main source of income.
Vote count:  132
Traditional technologies are never out of fashion
Photo by Manon Koningstein
In Lalibella, Ethiopia, the surroundings are rocky and dry. A local farmer shows the traditional tools that he has always used to work the terrain, commenting that he has not yet found another tool as efficient for this specific purpose.
Vote count:  19
Apatani Wet Rice Cultivation
Photo by Sirsendu Gayen
The traditional wet rice cultivation done by the Apatanis in Northeastern India’s Arunchal Pradesh not only provides food security and high economic returns for farmers. By recycling crop residues and using the villages’ organic waste, it also restores soil fertility.
Vote count:  40
A lazy salute
Photo by Silke Berger
A sustainably managed cocoa forest in Panama offers fair jobs and a home to rare animals, like this sloth.
Vote count:  10
Redia Mountain
Photo by Mohamed Shebl
The southern mountains of Shada and Reida in Saudi Arabia, more commonly known as the ’Thriwat Mountain’ are being threatened by diminishing amounts of rainfall, which are slowly changing the landscape along with the fauna and flora that inhabit it.
Vote count:  157
Without landscapes there would be no us
Photo by Igor Kolar
In the karst areas of Central Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park can be found. It consists of 16 lakes, separated by natural travertine barriers. Its abundant streams and forests provide numerous ecosystem services, nowadays under threat due to climate change, which affects the most vulnerable ecosystems.
Vote count:  9
Harvest season
Photo by Taufik Hidayat
A rice field in Rote Island, Indonesia. During the rainy season, animals are forbidden to enter the field. However, once the crops have been harvested, farmers allow livestock to roam the field in search for food until the next growing season begins.
Vote count:  29
Fishermen
Photo by Putu Agung Wiaskara
A group of fishermen from Bugbug, Bali, catch some shrimp using a light net and a traditional boat. Seafood, an important source of protein for the Balinese, is currently being threatened by rising water temperatures as well as the litter left on the beach by tourists, which finds its way into the ocean.
Vote count:  22
Villa de Merlo from above
Photo by Carolina Burgos
Merlo, catalogued as the city in Argentina ‘with the best environmental quality’ is surrounded by mountain ranges. These act as natural barriers to humid and polluted winds that come from the East, providing a relatively dry and clean weather. During the first decade of the XXIst century, it was one of the cities with the highest demographic growth in the country.
Vote count:  13
Morning breeze in Borneo
Photo by Sopian Hadiwijaya
As the sun rises in East Kalimantan, in Indonesia, the Punan Tubu dwellers begin to wake. Although no longer considered nomadic, the Punan Tubu still seasonally leave their now permanent settlements to venture into the forests, where they hunt wild boar and gather forest products both to sell and for their own subsistence.
Vote count:  68
Waterfall
Photo by Charu Verma
A small waterfall in Rishikesh, India, the ‘Yoga capital of the world’. This location attracts people from all over the world for spiritual purposes— and adventurous ones, like rafting. However, rafting camps discharge effluents and throw solid waste directly into the Ganga River, unbalancing its the whole system.
Vote count:  18
Nature’s thunder
Photo by Bhavin Faldu
In the Jamnagar district in Gujarat, India, heavy winds are common during the monsoon season. During the past few years, these have begun to occur off-season, along with the rains. These drastic disruptions of season changes affect not only the farmers that depend on the rains, but all of the ecosystem.
Vote count:  35
Shouting for a green world
Photo by Supriya Biswas
Fertilizers from farms, sewage treatment plants, animal waste and septic systems cause runoff nutrients to flow into rivers and streams, causing algae to grow in the water and turning it green. This eutrophication often kills fish that live in these bodies of water. This impacts the ecosystem and the livelihoods of the villagers of Canning, India, as their income depends largely on fishing.
Vote count:  18
An ecological green curtain
Photo by Jane Zerubabel
The rolling hills of the Eravikulam National park are rich in unique flora, which includes the terrestrial and epiphytic orchids. It is also home to equally colourful wildlife, like the endangered ibex and the ruddy mongoose.
Vote count:  11
Life in the desert
Photo by Gabriel Arango
In Ica, local dwellers have adapted to the arid conditions of the Peruvian coastal desert for thousands of years. Although this ecosystem has a small amount of vegetable biomass, species have adapted to grow here. These provide food and shelter from the winds and sand.
Vote count:  21
Eravikulam biodiversity
Photo by Jane Zerubabel
The Eravikulam National Park in India contains the unique shoal-grassland ecosystem, which is home to endemic and endangered species, such as the mountain goat. Tourists are drawn by its unique biodiversity, embellished by views of the Anamudi peak: the highest peak south of the Himalayas.
Vote count:  7
Child in Tsiribihina River in Madagascar
Photo by Elena Skalovskaia
Near the Tsiribihina River in Madagascar, indigenous people live traditionally. But their livelihoods have started being affected by the high influx of tourists who visit the river: they leave trash behind and have begun causing pirogue traffic jams on the river.
Vote count:  12
Nature’s mirror
Photo by Amber Srivastava
At an altitude of over 2400 meters above sea level, Deoriya Tal is one of the most well known altitude lakes of Uttawakhand, India. Due to its ease of access and beautiful panoramic scenery, it serves as a popular trekking destination.
Vote count:  34
On the road
Photo by Jonas Geschke
The wild, warm and contrasting Cederberg in South Africa region features towering mountains that gleam purple and orange at sunset. Most of the land surrounding the area is owned by farmers and conserved in their natural state.
Vote count:  22
The connection
Photo by Michael Langford
On the peak of a sacred mountain in Cusco, Peru, a local lady renews the connection with nature & her heritage while watching a reenactment of the Inca origin legend of the Ayar Brothers & Sisters. The reestablishment of local identity and the importance of sacred sites have helped preserve local culture and the environment in the face of uncontrolled urban expansion.
Vote count:  135
Road on Pantokrator
Photo by Giulia Sbrizza
Since ancient times, man has colonized even the most inhospitable of places, such as the Pantokrator Plateau in Corfu. But today, vegetation has fought back, leaving only a trace of what once was a civilization.
Vote count:  120
Sagar fair
Photo by Puranjit Gangopadhyay
Every year, millions of people gather in the confluence of the Ganges River and Bay of
Bengal for spiritual matters. Proper waste management is necessary, as people bathe, wash their clothes, and even defecate in the water.
Vote count:  6
Rays of hope
Photo by Michael Langford
Sunrise on the Madre de Dios River, Puerto Maldonado, Peru— an idyllic scene on an Amazonian river being impacted by environmentally and socially unsustainable practices such as surface gold mining and illegal logging. With increasing rainforest destruction, mercury poisoning, local community disintegration, and surging urban expansion, the challenges for a sustainable future are many.
Vote count:  44
Golden rice terrace
Photo by Kiran Nasir
Rice production in Pakistan holds an extremely important position in agriculture and the country’s national economy. Here, rice fields in the city of Battagram provide income and food to the local people, attracting tourists at the same time.
Vote count:  15
Marine wonder in danger
Photo by Susan Baltazar
Climate change is affecting the natural living conditions of hundreds of thousands of species. In the coast of Perú, the ocean warms up and changes the ecosystem patterns, altering the food chain and causing marine and bird populations to decline.
Vote count:  28
Falcon in captivity
Photo by Héctor Cisneros Moncloa
A caged falcon in Cajamarca, Perú. The animal has not only lost its freedom and the use of its basic instincts: the falcon’s ecosystem has also lost its balance.
Vote count:  696
Any time playtime
Photo by Puranjit Gangopadhyay
In Calcutta, India, many streets are increasingly being flooded during the monsoon season. This is mainly due to the combination of a weak drainage system, the greenhouse effect, and garbage blocking the drains in the city.
Vote count:  9
Yosemite dry valley
Photo by María Alejandra Escalante
The majestic Yosemite National Park in northern California, is currently undergoing one of the harshest droughts that California has felt over the last decades. Enhanced by climate change, the drought has caused this forest to become vulnerable to fires.
Vote count:  8
Palestine sunbird
Photo by Mohamed Shebl
A Palestine sunbird pollinates an echinops in the Deisa Valley in Saudi Arabia as it feeds on its nectar.
Vote count:  174
Misty haze
Photo by Ricky Martin
Foggy mist rises in Central Java’s Dieng Plateu. In the last month, Indonesian forest fires have peaked, spreading haze all over South-East Asia, and bringing hazardous air pollution levels to other countries, such as Singapore.
Vote count:  24
Artisanal ship building in Perú
Photo by Manuel Guariguata
Food security achieved through artisanal fishing is an essential component of coastal livelihoods. Through building, engineering and craftsmanship skills, timber is used to build traditional ships which in turn put pressure on this terrestrial resource with the need to secure food from the sea. This shows how ecosystems are connected, since trees for timber use do not grow along the dry, deserted Peruvian coast— timber comes from very far away.
Vote count:  22
Leap of Clean Faith
Photo by Kevin Midigo
Since the performance of public schools continues to deteriorate in Kenya, some parents opt to enrol their children in private schools. But these don’t always follow safety procedures. This school’s classrooms are next to a polluted stream, exposing children to an array of dangers and diseases.
Vote count:  19
Between lichens
Photo by Balasz Garamszegi
Signs of human presence can be found even in remote places in northernmost parts of Europe. In this remote area of Norway, the effects of climate change are drastically changing the Nordic ecosystems that the region is known for.
Vote count:  7
Sustainable Land Management System
Photo by Rishi Indra Singh
Poplar-wheat based agroforestry in the Indo Gangetic Plains of India has emerged as a viable alternative to intensive rice-wheat cropping, which depletes native nutrient reserves and lowers the underground water table.
Vote count:  27
Landscape of Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary
Photo by Nidhi Srivastava
The Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary in India is very rich in biodiversity. The diverse topography and climate of the area gives room to grasslands, alpine, subalpine, temperate, and coniferous forests to form. These house the endangered Himalayan musk deer as well as other ungulates and the Himalayan black bear.
Vote count:  18
Sawmill communities
Photo by Samson Adetona
In the western part of the Lagos Lagoon, a great percentage of the local communities’ livelihoods depend on the Oko-Baba sawmill activities. It is one of the biggest sawmills in West Africa, owing to the fact that it deals with a great variety of woods.
Vote count:  142
Tree of life
Photo by Jaya Setiawan Gulo
Old-growth coniferous trees still surround the Wallace Falls in Washington, although there is strong evidence of logging in the area, where old stumps have been left as a reminder of the pristine forest that once stood here.
Vote count:  4096
Everything is vital in ecosystems
Photo by Min Hein Htike
On their way to their lectures, the students from the University of Forestry in Myanmar may have seldom noticed the small and often essential components of ecosystems, like these 1 cm-tall fungi. Though small, these play important roles in the carbon, nutrient and nitrogen cycles.
Vote count:  20
Nor Yauyos Reserve
Photo by Héctor Cisneros Moncloa
The North Yauyos Reserve in Lima, is an important basin headwater for Peruvians. Lima is a city in the desert with over 10 million people. Today, while nearly one billion people don’t have access to clean water, Lima’s water consumption reaches over 170 liters /person/day. It is estimated that Lima will become the first big city to run out of freshwater.
Vote count:  714
Physical strength, nurtured by nature
Photo by Wilson John Barbon
An elderly farmer has just descended the hills in the Chitwan district, Nepal, after collecting fodder for his livestock. For thousands of years, people have been nurtured by landscapes, which provide them with food, water, shelter, and even health. People and the environment are inseparable; they depend on each other for their mutual survival in an uncertain future.
Vote count:  31
Three stollers in the salt
Photo by Adrián Bello
The ‘Salar de Uyuni’ in southwest Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flat, and an important breeding site for migratory bird species such as the pink flamingo. Many locals work in artisanal salt mining and tourism, thus considering the ‘Salar’ both a sacred place and a source of income.
Vote count:  15
What is the path to sustainability?
Photo by Icaro Cooke
Driving through Mato Grosso, the largest producer of grains in Brazil and the world’ s biggest soy bean producer. Although this state contains the country’s three principal biomes, it is the one that deforests the most,
Vote count:  76
Wave
Photo by Mohammad Rakibul Hasan
Bangladesh, a small yet overpopulated country with a large agro-based economy, is experiencing drastic changes in its climate— like cyclones and droughts. When the rivers’ water level rises, they wash away lands, and when the waves are gone, cracked river beds are left behind.
Vote count:  11
When nature strikes back
Photo by Viktor Krizik
An umbrella washes up on the banks of the Danube River in Belgrade. By disposing of their wastes in rivers, humans also harm themselves, as the water is left unfit to irrigate crops in farms, to drink, and to sustain aquatic life.
Vote count:  6
Deforestation and waste
Photo by Samson Omokanye
The lumber processed in the Oko-Baba sawmill in Lagos produces waste in the form of sawdust and wood cut-offs, but they only remain wastes if nothing is done with them. They can be used as fuel, soil conditioners, or to manufacture particle boards too.
Vote count:  104
Abiding the inner Niger Delta
Photo by Peter Shapland
Harried by shifting rain patterns, strong winds, and heavily-armed bandits, Fulani agro-pastoralists in Northern Mali seek out a living on the fringes of what’s possible. They are on the cutting edge of climate change resilience, adapting livelihood strategies according to seasonal forecasts, and increasing community saving mechanisms to decrease the inevitable difficulties associated with the lean season.
Vote count:  14
Fetching water in the Tsiribihina River in Madagascar
Photo by Elena Skalovskaia
A child fetches water for his family in the Tsiribihina River. Indigenous people often lack education regarding safe food and water processing: they have collected water since the beginning of time, and are unaware of the changes in contamination in it.
Vote count:  9
Landscape of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve
Photo by Deepak Dhyani
The Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve in the Indian Himalayas is dominated by temperate coniferous forests, which are conserved by both upstream and downstream local communities. They implement land-use practices that bring food security while boosting the economy sustainably.
Vote count:  745
Keystone species with significant roles in ecological dynamics
Photo by Evan Kimani Muruku
While elephants range for approximately more than 2,756km2, the Amboseli National Park in Tanzania only occupies 392km2. Being mega herbivores, elephants require vast areas for year round use.
Vote count:  18
Dusk over rocks and mountains
Photo by Milos Jokic
The bay of Boka Kotorska in Montenegro is the only fjord in the Balkans. Due to recent rises in the sea level, ‘Gasp od Skrpjela’ (Our Lady of the Rocks), an islet only half a meter above sea level, is threatened to disappear. Not only would the islet disappear— it would take its history and legends with it.
Vote count:  38
Confluence of world’s mighty mountains
Photo by Ikram Ur Rahman
Three mighty mountain ranges, home to endangered species such as the Himalayan Ibex and the Marco Polo sheep, meet 50 km away from Gilgit, in northern Pakistan. Gilgit’s strategic location attracts mountaineers, who usually begin their Himalaya Ranges or Karakoram expeditions here.
Vote count:  1785
Highlands waterfall
Photo by Suzanne Baynes
The island of Tobago is more than just sandy beaches and turquoise waters: due to the steepness of the main part of this small island, numerous waterfalls can be found. Amongst these is the Highlands Waterfall, in which important bird species like the mot-mot dwell.
Vote count:  10
Autumn
Photo by Péter Garamszegi
It is uncertain whether the Cotinus bushes on the slopes of the Eged Hill in Hungary spread naturally or if they were fostered by former agricultural activities. As they find their place in the karst ecosystem, they fill the surrounding vineyards with autumn colours.
Vote count:  9
Pupuan rice terraces
Photo by Ketut Arnaya
In the village of Pupuan in Bali, farmers in rice-fields still use the same methods that they have used for the past hundred years. They plough their fields with the help of water-buffalos, and harvest the rice stalks using a knife called anggapan.
Vote count:  77
The green carpet
Photo by Jane Zerubabel
Munnar, southern India’s largest tea-growing region, is surrounded by emerald-green hills. Today, the traditional tea-plantation ways are slowly being replaced by corporate giants.

Vote count:  21
Nature’s wildest
Photo by Viktor Krizik
The Šar Mountains National Park in southern Serbia, home to the endemic relict Macedonian Pine, wolves and bears, amongst others, is part of the largest compact area covered with pastures in Europe. However, forests in the surrounding area are being cut down as the demand for hotels and ski resorts continues to rise.
Vote count:  8
Firewood supply
Photo by Tolojanahary Ranaivosoa
In Ambositra, Madagascar, fuelwood from the Tapia forest is carried to supply local needs. The tapia forests are the last vestiges of the original vegetation of the highlands, which have been lost mainly due to bushfires.
Vote count:  14
Curious seagull
Photo by Nadia Aguirre
The rugged rocks and sandy beaches along the Lima coastline have been breeding sites for seagulls and other birds for thousands of years. But as urban sprawl has reached the ocean, many of these are slowly being displaced. As they try to defend their nests, they attack the passerby, sometimes even steal food from them. Pollution in the oceans also affects their livelihoods, as they sometimes feed on litter, confusing it with food.
Vote count:  25
Feeding London
Photo by Katie Bracher
Dagenham, London, has experienced many land-use changes since its beginning, when it was just a forest. The growing population’s feeding needs turned it into an agricultural field, which then transitioned to become a landfill site. Afterwards, it was reclaimed as a car-producing industrial zone, and is presently the route for power, motor vehicles, and trains into London.
Vote count:  6
Flower bath
Photo by Simone Cmoon
During the last 50 years, the Gauli glacier in Switzerland has lost over 500 meters of length, feeding lakes with its meltwater. The effects of climate change are especially felt in high altitudes.
Vote count:  38
Traditional salt maker
Photo by Ketut Arnaya
A Balinese man carries fresh sea water ashore as a first step to produce natural salt. It is common to find small amounts of minerals in this type of salt, but if harvested from a polluted ocean, sea salt may also contain trace amounts of heavy metals.
Vote count:  76
Yatara
Photo by Mukesh Khugsal
The Nanda Devi Yatra is a three-week-long holy pilgrimage and festival that happens every 12 years in India. People walk over 200 km through grasslands, mud fields, stones and glaciers to worship the Himalayan goddess Nanda Devi.
Vote count:  161
Let’s Fly
Photo by Sahat Aritonang
Children from the Bathin Sembilan tribe in Jambi, Sumatra, enjoy themselves in their environment. Due to the widespread conversion of forests, they find themselves increasingly between palm oil plantations.
Vote count:  61
Glacial Lake
Photo by Mary Kathryn Gilligan
The Glacier National Park in Montana is experiencing the impacts of climate change, with only a fraction of its original glaciers remaining today. The rapid glacial melting is changing the region’s ecosystem, affecting the livelihood of community members.
Vote count:  113
Atacama Desert
Photo by Ana Caroline de Lima
In spite of being the driest non-polar desert in the world, the Atacama Desert in Chile contains unique flora and fauna that have adapted to its extreme aridity. The desert’s salt flats provide a microhabitat for algae and brine shrimp: the principal diet of the Andrean flamingo, which can also be found here.
Vote count:  8
Gentleman of the seas
Photo by Susan Baltazar
Global warming and climate change have a huge impact on vulnerable populations who depend on natural resources. One of the most affected are those who work as fishermen, who must overcome daily challenges to ensure their daily catch while safeguarding the sustainability of marine resources.
Vote count:  13