The proper use of technology can be a force multiplier in the fight to stem the Amazon tree loss. Indigenous tribes and the local populace inhabiting the fringe areas of the Peruvian part of the Amazon were empowered by the use of the latest technology to help in conservation efforts. Using smartphones and enabled by the latest satellite data, they succeeded in cutting down Amazon tree loss by an incredible 50% right in the very first year after starting the project.
The greatest reduction in tree loss was noticed in the indigenous and local communities that were confronted by the organized criminals belonging to the illegal logging, mining, and drug trade. More than 33% of the vast Amazon rainforests are situated within the land that traditionally belongs to around 3,344 indigenous communities.
The Richness Of The South American Forests Has Led To The Amazon Tree Loss
But the lure of the forest riches has brought in outsiders intent on destroying the flora and fauna for various purposes including the vast network of coca plants controlled by the cocaine gang lords, the mining mafia, and the illegal loggers, all contributing to the Amazon tree loss.
Environmentalists and the governments of Peru, Columbia, and Brazil joined hands and have taken the initiative. They have invested heavily in creating a vast network of satellite technology that can pinpoint every illegal activity almost in real-time.
Armed with the vast amount of actionable data, the researchers transferred it directly to the vast network of indigenous communities that call the Amazon their home. Armed with the latest data, the communities have been able to make a vast difference and have succeeded in halting the Amazon tree loss.
A random but controlled study by the authors of the initiative initially identified 76 extremely remote village communities in the Amazon heartland. 36 of them were identified and assigned to the task of monitoring the program. Another group of 37 communities functioned as a regulatory group and went on with the existing practices in forest management. Three members from each community were selected and trained thoroughly in using the latest technology and using them to identify deforestation activities in the course of their patrolling.
Every suspicious activity was recorded and their coordinates were recorded and delivered through couriers. This evidence was then transferred to community monitors. This information was transferred to the authorities to take appropriate action. In places where the drug mafia was involved, law enforcement authorities were promptly informed. In isolated incidents, the community elders themselves intervened to drive away from the intruders.
The drop in deforestation went down by an incredible rate of 52% right in the first and by another 21% the next year. Each community managed to save an average of 8.8 hectares from deforestation. Communities most threatened by the Amazon tree loss were at the forefront of the program.
The rate of deforestation in government-controlled and indigenous areas is substantial with nearly 17% of Amazon tree loss being reported from 2000 to 2015. Inaction would result in the loss of another 4.4M hectares over the next decade. But the forest monitoring system spearheaded by the local community and backed by the authorities could cut Amazon tree loss by a massive 20%.