When the Rainforest Foundation began working with indigenous communities, investigating deforestation required indigenous activists to go on what could be long and dangerous expeditions. Community members might travel through dense forests on foot, to check if their land was invaded by settlers, and collect deforestation evidence. On occasions, illegal loggers were heavily armed and confrontations could be dangerous.
But drones and other tech has changed this story, communities can now take control of their territories and resources. Without confronting illegal settlers, indigenous monitors now use drones to get a comprehensive view of forests from the air. The pictures and data collected by drones accurately capture illegal logging, cleared land, and other deforestation activities. Indigenous communities can then identify areas at risk and areas being invaded and contact the authorities with proof without putting themselves directly in harms way.
Our work fighting illegal deforestation was recently highlighted by VICE magazine and Quartz.