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Indigenous territories in the Amazon have faced invasions, environmental degradation, and illegal resources extraction for several decades. Technological practices support environmental monitoring to identify and report these impacts while mobilizing political engagements to stop deforestation in Indigenous territories.

Amazonia / São Paulo, Brasil

RAISG

The Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG) is a group of non-governmental organizations from the Amazon countries. RAISG asessess environmental changes through the use of geographical information systems to support the collective rights of Indigenous peoples and local communities. Their maps include assessments of the main socio-economic pressures and threats on Indigenous territories across spatial and temporal scales.

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Screenshot of the RAISG homepage. Image source: RAISG website [screenshot]. Retrieved 25 April 2022, from https://www.amazoniasocioambiental.org/en/
Brasília, Distrito Federal, Brasil

SOMAI

The System for Observation and Monitoring of the Indigenous Amazon (SOMAI) is a digital platform that gathers environmental data to analyse climate risks and anthropogenic threats on Indigenous lands of the Brazilian Amazon. The platform presents data on deforestation, land use, vegetation, hydrography, infrastructure, and carbon stock. It also produces future predictions of temperature, rainfall and biodiversity on Indigenous lands.

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Screenshot of the SOMAI platform webpage. Image source: SOMAI website [screenshot]. Retrieved 25 April 2022, from http://www.somai.org.br/plataforma/

This tool allows the production of maps and reports to identify vulnerable regions to fires, drought, deforestation and other socio-environmental issues as political instruments for articulating Indigenous organizations.

Loretu, Perú

Rainforest Alert

Rainforest Alert was developed by Rainforest Foundation US to support Indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon to protect their territories against deforestation. A regional data hub assesses satellite imagery for deforestation activity using the Global Forest Watch app . If deforestation is detected, information is passed on to Indigenous patrollers who can verify whether deforestation is taking place, with the aim that Indigenous communities can decide a course of action, often involving state interventions or law enforcement.

How do these technologies enable but also limit collective action for forest defence? A study by Slough et al. (2021) found that the Rainforest Alert system may have contributed to a reduction in tree cover loss in Peruvian Amazon territories over a two year period. The study also notes a shift in community dynamics, suggesting that the introduction of remote monitoring technologies contributed to a 'bureaucratization' of forest monitoring through which monitors and patrollers became positioned as authorities.

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