Traditions and Technology Combat Illegal Logging

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Amazon_3Indigenous groups in Northern Brazil are taking matters into their own hands to protect the Amazon Rainforest. Areas close to the Ka’apor’s indigenous territory, within the Alto Turiaçu region, have been targeted by illegal loggers. The roughly 2,000 person tribe is now embracing new innovations to combat rapid deforestation near their homes.

These groups of “forest guardians,” as they refer to themselves, are calling for conservation. The Ka’apor had previously asked the Brazilian government for aid in combatting the illegal loggers that are destroying their traditional homeland in 2014, but received no help. Nearly a year later, they are still waiting.

 

Violent History

 

Amazon_2Illegal loggers that came through the Alto Turiaçu Indigenous Land and were discovered have been targeted, their trucks destroyed and their hauls of wood burnt. Extreme measures were taken to deliver the Ka’apor’s message that deforestation is unacceptable, and that conservation is the only mandate that matters.

According to a story in The Guardian, “drivers and chainsaw operators are warned never to return [and] those that fail to heed the advice are stripped and beaten.”[1] It is a dangerous movement to be involved in, and the Ka’apour have also been on the receiving end of violent actions. Since 2011, four have been killed.

 

New Innovations and Partnerships

 

Until very recently, the Ka’apour were fighting the battle against illegal loggers on their own. In the past few months, they have reached out to Greenpeace Brasil for advice and help. Greenpeace provided them with “11 camera traps, 11 GPS trackers and two computers.”[2]

These resources will help the Ka’apor track loggers in a more innovative and modern way, which they hope will reduce illegal activities occurring on their land.

They will be able to closely monitor the movement of loggers and determine where they are traveling for more accurate reporting and interception. The Ka’apor will also be able to use the new technology to create better maps, and virtually watch areas that they know are high-risk.

The tools and knowledge provided by Greenpeace also help create a safer environment for the Ka’apor to work in. They no longer have to rely on guerrilla tactics. With cameras and computers, they know where the illegal loggers are, and can avoid dangerous situations and violent confrontation.

Amazon_1The cameras and GPS trackers also allow them to collect important data and images, which can then be used as evidence to prove that illegal logging throughout the Alto Turiaçu region is a serious issue that is endangering livelihoods. This will give more traction when lobbying the Brazilian government to take a proactive stand against illegal loggers, and restore responsible environmental practices and protection laws for the Amazon Rainforest.

The Ka’apor have combined their traditional practices with new innovations to create a unique method of combatting logging. To create real, sustainable change, though, they will need to get help from the Brazilian government.

More information can be found here and here. You can watch a video here, and check out a photo gallery here.

 

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/09/amazon-tribe-protecting-forest-bows-arrows-gps-camera-traps

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/09/amazon-tribe-protecting-forest-bows-arrows-gps-camera-traps

 

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Elizabeth DiCesare

Elizabeth DiCesare

Elizabeth is a writer currently based in Kitchener-Waterloo.

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