The Rainforest Foundation UK (RFUK) is reporting successful use by Peruvian Amazonian communities of an app they have developed. Their ‘ForestLink’ system can be used by remote communities to send alerts and evidence of threats, including illegal mining and oil spills, to the authorities even from areas where there is no mobile or internet connection.
In June, they report, the Masenawa community in Madre de Dios was on a monitoring mission a few kilometres away from the Amarakaeri Communal Reserve, when they detected illegal miners at work. They used the RFUK app to alert the Peruvian environmental police. The latter intervened, detained five people and destroyed machinery.
The RFUK coordinator for Peru , Aldo Soto, says “What this intervention shows is the power of harnessing technology for social good and putting it in the hands of local people. who are on the frontlines of the fight against deforestation.” However, a wry comment comes from Daniel Castillo, the head of a team in the MINAM that uses the technology: “We have all the tools to be able tell when this kind of phenomena occurs, we only really need effective action,” Castillo said. Indeed.