New hope for Madre de Dios rainforest
Two additional indigenous communities in the Madre de Dios region of the Amazon rainforest will now take part in our real-time monitoring project in Peru - thanks to the generous donations made during our summer appeal.
Back in June, we highlighted the threats faced by these communities and the 125,000 hectares of biodiverse rainforest they depend on for their survival.
As a result of our appeal, which raised over £20,000, a total of nine communities will now be the first to be trained in ForestLink - a technologically innovative, app-based system that enables communities to report illegal activities from remote areas of their forest in real-time.
After some initial training, the selected forest monitors from the Harakmbut, Matsiguenka, Ese'eja, Shipibo and Yine indigenous communities will be responsible for reporting illegal activities, such as logging and mining, in their forest lands. The training will also provide forest monitors with the knowledge needed to understand the current legal framework so they can effectively denounce any illegality.
In 2015, it was estimated that five to 10 hectares of protected rainforest was lost to illegal gold mining each day in Madre de Dios. During a recent visit to the region, communities told us that the largest trees in the forest, which maintain their population by producing seeds, have been cut down to make room for illegal mining activities and for the illegal timber trade. Part of the ForestLink training will involve the communities learning how to monitor key species like these trees to help protect the forest's biodiversity.
Indigenous leader and President of FENAMAD, our partner organisation, Julio Cusurichi, welcomed the new Forest Monitors last week and highlighting the importance of their roles: "For indigenous communities there are great challenges ahead; challenges that indigenous leaders and younger generations are assuming with great responsibility, recognising the importance of maintaining their rainforest, while preserving their traditions and way of life."
Adam Colling, Fundraising Manager at RFUK, acknowledged the donations that helped to launch the programme in this uniquely biodiverse area of the world. "We wish to thank all RFUK supporters who have helped us raise £21,400 through the urgent matched giving appeal, and our generous donor who has helped us to double the first £10,000 in donations. Having access to ForestLink will make a huge difference to these communities who are fighting on the frontline to defend their forests."
RFUK is also launching ForestLink in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana and Cameroon.